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USF student caught in undercover child sex sting


 A USF student was arrested Saturday for soliciting sex from what he believed to be a 13-year-old boy, according to Polk County Sherriff’s Office (PCSO).

The suspect, 20-year-old Jacob Bickel, was caught in a Central Florida Internet Crime Against Children operation targeting suspects who travel to engage underage teenagers in sexual conduct. So far, the operation has led to 13 arrests for traveling for sex with a minor.

Bickel allegedly traveled from Tampa to Naples with intent to meet a boy he propositioned through an anonymous chat application.

In the online conversation with the undercover detective, Bickel, under the username “Jake.Bulls94,” allegedly requested nude pictures, asked about sexual experience and offered to teach various sexual acts, according to the arrest affidavit.

The PCSO report stated Bickel drove to the predetermined location on Saturday and was arrested at the front door. Police said the suspect carried two condoms and personal lubricant in his front pocket.

When a detective again sent a message to “Jake.Bulls94,” police confirmed the suspect’s cellphone received it.

The report stated, when asked, Bickel said he was lonely and only came to talk.

Bickel is charged with traveling to meet a minor for the purpose of sexual conduct, transmitting sexual material harmful to a minor and using a computer (cellphone) to commit a felony.

The arrest was a part of Operation Cyber Child III, an operation launched June 18 to arrest suspected sexual predators who target children. 

— Staff report