Page 37 - Florida Sentinel 2-19-21
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Man Charged With Hijacking Amazon Van
  Employee Charged
  With Sexual Battery
On 82-Year-Old
Last Wednesday, police ar- rested a 22-year-old man in connection with the theft of an Amazon delivery van. The inci- dent took place February 10th, from a residential neighbor- hood near State Road 60, just east of Bartow, in Polk County.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Mario Crawford, of Bartow, is facing charges of carjacking without a weapon, unarmed burglary, grand theft, possession of bur- glary tools, resisting arrested, and wearing mask in public.
The deliveryman was slated for a residence on Kathy Road.
The victim complied. Crawford is said to have
driven the van to Radford Road and abandoned it.
A resident who lives near the area where the van was abandoned, flagged down a deputy and reported that someone he didn’t know had just entered his home. The deputy went to the man’s home and located Crawford inside a bathroom.
At the time of Crawford’s arrest, he was on probation for other crimes. He was also charged with violation of pro- bation.
 Last week, the Lakeland Police Department arrested a man and charged him in con- nection with a sexual battery. The victim is an 82-year-old woman.
According to police, on Fri- day, February 12, 2021, at ap- proximately 9:45 p.m., a Lakeland Police Officer work- ing an extra duty detail at Lakeland Regional Health was notified by hospital security of a possible assault on a patient inside the building. Upon in- vestigation, detectives learned that an 82-year-old female pa- tient was sexually assaulted in the elevator by a male em- ployee of the hospital while being transported from one hospital floor to another for testing.
Detectives arrested 21-
year-old Jordan Robert James, who was immediately detained by officers following the initial notification, charg- ing him with aggravated sexual battery and false imprison- ment. James was transported to Polk County Jail without in- cident. The investigation is continuing.
The merchandise was in the back of the van. Crawford, who was reportedly wearing a ski mask, jumped into the dri- ver’s seat and demanded that the victim get out of the vehicle.
 Human Trafficking Operation Lands 75 In Jail
    Teacher Accused
More than 70 individuals were taken into custody during Super Bowl Week in Tampa. The arrests were part of Opera- tion Human Trafficking.
An investigation targeting sexual exploitation in Hillsbor- ough County resulted in a record number of arrests dur- ing the Super Bowl week, as well as the recovery of six indi- viduals believed to be victims of human trafficking.
Throughout the course of the investigation dubbed “Op- eration Game Over,” which started Monday, February 1, and ended Saturday, February 6, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested a total of 75 people who were seeking to either buy or sell sex. Under- cover deputies targeted mas- sage parlors, hotels, motels, and online chatrooms known for illicit activity. Those taken into custo0dy ranged in age from 19 to 73 years old.
Among those arrested are three men who have been charged with human traffick- ing. On Thursday, February 4, 2021, detectives arrested Juan Cano, Jr., after he engaged in an online chat conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a trafficker. Cano struck a deal with the undercover detective to have sex with a 17-year-old girl for $150.
Cano was arrested after he traveled to a local hotel and was met by detectives inside the room. He was charged with human trafficking for commer- cial sexual activity with a victim less than 18.
 Of Having Sex
With Student
A Haines City high school teacher has been arrested and accused of having sex with a student. He is facing 10 counts of sexual battery on a victim between the age of 12 and 18 years of age.
Wayne McKenzie Ricks II, 29, was arrested in Osceola County. He is accused of hav- ing sex with the student since the fall, including on the cam- pus of Haines City High School, where he worked.
According to police, Ricks, a special education teacher and junior varsity bas- ketball coach, would have the student come to his classroom while he was alone and the two would have sex in a closet. A student and friend of the vic- tim were reportedly present in the classroom at the time and told police the two did this on 10 occasions.
Ricks and the victim al- legedly spent time together
off-campus as well, meeting since at least October, police said.
A family member of the victim reported the incident to police.
Ricks was hired at Haines City High School on Aug. 31, 2020, and resigned on Satur- day. He had no prior discipli- nary action on his personnel file.
The following day, Alvin Lynch, Jr., 34, and Scott Fitzgerald, 27, were arrested after undercover detectives ob- served the men accompanying a woman who had placed on- line ads offering sexual serv- ices. The victim traveled to a Tampa hotel, where under- cover detectives were waiting to meet her.
After the woman entered the hotel room, detectives had enough probable cause to ar- rest Lynch and Fitzgerald, who were both waiting in a ve- hicle outside.
The victim told detectives there were at least two other women who were being traf- ficked by the two men. Detec- tives located both victims, one of whom is a 17-year-old. The teen was taken into custody by HCSO’s Child Protective Inves- tigations Division, and the other two were connected with Selah Freedom, a local non- profit that provides services and counseling to human traf- ficking survivors.
Lynch was charged with human trafficking for commer- cial sexual activity (victim less than 18); felon in possession of
a firearm; deriving support from proceeds of prostitution; resisting officer without vio- lence (2 counts); transporting for prostitution; possession of cannabis with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver; pos- session of drug paraphernalia; and trafficking in fentanyl.
Fitzgerald was charged with human trafficking for commercial sexual activity (vic- tim less than 18); battery (2 counts); and deriving support from proceeds of prostitution.
“Operation Game Over” was executed across the county. Thirty-two individuals were arrested at hotels and mo- tels, 27 people were arrested along roadways, eight women were arrested at massage par- lors, and eight men were ar- rested for engaging in explicitly sexual online chat conversa- tions with undercover detec- tives they believed to be minors.
Frank Hicks, 31, Joseph Garcia, 27, Tyler Scalici, 26, Keith Prevatt, 34, and Cori Avery, 31, all face felony charges for traveling to a hotel to meet a juvenile with the in- tention of having sex.
 Great things, 2, 14, 28, 33, 47, never come from comfort zones 8, 12, 26, 44, 54.

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