Investigators have begun the process of recovering the Internet activities of a Cuyahoga Falls man accused of trying to purchase a young girl and turn her into a sex slave.
Alliance police said they already have found more evidence that Robert W. Thomas Jr., 36, had posted his ad on other websites similar to the one they said he used in seeking a child for an arranged “marriage.”
“We believe he was active on several similar websites,” Alliance police Lt. John Jenkins said Monday.
Thomas remains in the Stark County Jail in lieu of a $2 million bond. An attorney for Thomas could not be identified immediately. He was arraigned Monday afternoon in Alliance Municipal Court.
Meanwhile, members of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force are continuing their investigation of Thomas’ Internet history. Jenkins said he could not release further details of their work.
He did say that the sites already connected to Thomas’ computer are “very similar” to the page law enforcement officials said led them to arrest Thomas on attempted rape and kidnapping charges, as well as charges of felony human trafficking and possession of criminal tools.
Thomas, who is unmarried and lives with his three dogs inside his Tudor Street house, has no prior felony arrests or sex offenses. He works as an auto mechanic.
He first caught the attention of child pornography task force officers a week ago when agents spotted an Internet posting in which he allegedly sought to arrange a “marriage” with someone’s daughter, preferably a girl between the ages of 5 and 8.
Undercover officers contacted Thomas through the Internet and crafted a sting operation in which Thomas ultimately agreed to purchase a 10-year-old girl for $400, police said.
Jenkins said Thomas intended to obtain a child he could keep permanently to use for sex and to “train her to please him.”
Thomas, according to police, drove to Alliance on Saturday to meet and pay for the child. Instead, he was met by officers who arrested him.
A search warrant was executed at Thomas’ house later Saturday. Police seized seven firearms, including an AR-15 rifle with a grenade launcher. They did not recover any grenades.
Jenkins said Thomas legally owned the firearms, which also included World War II-era guns.
Police said they believe Thomas was committed to procuring a child to use as a sexual victim and might have succeeded if not for the intervention of the task force.
“We believe he was very serious about wanting this to happen,” Jenkins said.