HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Eleven men have been arrested following a recent Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office undercover operation for exhibiting or soliciting lewd acts in public parks.
During “Operation Park Cleanup,” deputies arrested the men at two Hillsborough County parks: Sun City Heritage Park, located at 3030 S U.S. Highway 41 in Ruskin, and the Sydney Dover Conservation Park, located at 536 N Dover Road in Dover, according to HCSO. The parks are known to deputies as meeting points where men meet for sex.
Deputies say the men arrested range from 37 to 76 years old and believed the undercover detectives were there to engage in sexual acts with them.
The sheriff’s office said in some incidents, those arrested would wait in their parked cars, follow and approach an undercover detective, and then solicit them for sex. Others would wait for undercover detectives on the trails, some in broad daylight, before engaging in a conversation and later either exhibiting or soliciting lewd acts.
According to HCSO, one of the men arrested was 43-year-old Eric Spooner. He was recently released from federal prison and is currently on federal probation for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
One of the other men was arrested after exposing his genitals to an undercover detective, deputies said.
“The vile acts these men committed were done in the same public places our children go to for outdoor recreation,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “I want to commend the work of our undercover detectives during ‘Operation Park Cleanup’ to get these men off of our Hillsborough County streets. Parks are meant for all us to enjoy, and these men made it their personal playground for deviant activity and that will not be tolerated on my watch.”
All of the men arrested were charged with entering/remaining in place for prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
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