SC sheriff warns child predators after 5 sting arrests: 'If you hunt our children you will become the hunted'

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South Carolina authorities announced Tuesday that five more people have been arrested as part of a sex crime sting operation targeting those who seek out children over the internet. 

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said five more potential child predators were arrested as part of Operation Home Alone, an online child exploitation investigation conducted since March by the York County Sheriff’s Office along with 13 other state and federal law enforcement agencies.

“Let this send a strong message to any child predator, if you hunt our children you will become the hunted,” Tolson said at a press conference Tuesday. 

These suspects “did not travel to perpetrate sexual crimes, but did commit criminal offenses online,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Arrest warrants indicated the suspects allegedly used social media apps to seek out individuals believed to be minors as young as age 12 for sex, The Herald, an online newspaper based in Rock Hill, South Carolina, reported. 

Jeffery Dennis Rape, 61, of Heath Springs, South Carolina, is charged with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, and dissemination of obscene material to a person under the age of 18. Larry Donell Rogers, 67, of Greenville, South Carolina, is charged with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and criminal solicitation of a minor. 

Matthew Ray Bolick, 53, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is charged with criminal solicitation of a minor. Carl Lee Tayor, Jr., 48, of Hickory, North Carolina., is charged with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, and dissemination of obscene material to a person under the age of 18. And Caleb Israel Strope, 21, of Indian Land, South Carolina, is charged with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, and dissemination of obscene material to a person under the age of 18.

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    Carl Taylor, Jr. seen in undated mugshot.  (York County Sheriff’s Office)

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    Jeffery Rape seen in undated mugshot.  (York County Sheriff’s Office)

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    Matthew Bolick seen in undated mugshot.  (York County Sheriff’s Office)

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    Caleb Strope seen in undated mugshot.  (York County Sheriff’s Office)

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    Larry Rogers seen in undated mugshot.  (York County Sheriff’s Office)

The five arrests come as part of the third set announced in two years. 

Another 10 arrests were made in April as part of Operation Home Alone. 

The operation took place at several different locations, including an undisclosed residence. The York County Sheriff’s Office is part of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, “which work together to track down, identify and prosecute those individuals who prey on children,” the statement said. 

Several other law enforcement agencies across the Carolinas took part in the operation, including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Secret Service, York Police Department, Rock Hill Police Department, Fort Mill Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Charleston Police Department, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.

Before Operation Home Alone was launched, York County deputies announced 10 other arrests in November 2019 as part of a prior online child sex crime investigation, The Herald reported. 

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