TALLAPOOSA, Ga. – Tallapoosa Police spearheaded a month-long investigation and ultimately nabbed eight men for their involvement in what they are calling an underage sex sting—so far, four have been arrested, ranging in age between 27 and 71.
But none of them are from the small town—population 3,000. In fact, they all drove, on average, 20 miles to Haralson County, Ga., to meet up with underage teenagers, proposing sexual acts.
Last weekend, police arrested Randy Keith Barnette, of Carrollton, Ga., Everett William Gleichauf, of Rockmart, Ga., Brandon Henry Short, of Cedartown, Ga., and Jerry Paul Caldwell, of Villa Rica, Ga., on Aug. 20, after an undercover officer caught them in the act of asking for sex from, who they believed to be, teenagers.
After another sting was a success about a year ago, at a local motel with the GBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, and Haralson County Sheriff’s Office, Tallapoosa Police Chief Scott Worthy said that he decided to put efforts of a scaled-down caliber into his own force of 12 officers.
“We’re dedicated to not only upholding the law here in town, but trying to protect the youth of our community and other communities around us,” Worthy said.
In fact, he had one of his patrol officers trained as an affiliate member of the GBI’s ICAC task force, to talk to these would-be criminals online, posing as an underage girl.
“It’s not like meeting somebody face to face where you might judge an age. Just because you think you’re talking to a 14-year-old girl… It might not be who you’re talking to.”
Beginning at the start of August, he started his work in the sting—working some hours on his own time.
But the chief said it’s not just about rounding up these guys, it’s about getting the word out that Tallapoosa is not the playground for their underage games.
“It’s not just about locking them up and charging them – it’s against the law and wrong to be mixing with children.”
“If we can get them off our roads and out of here then it’s just better off,” he said.