Rhode Island registered sex offender accused of luring Tampa Bay children online

Sarasota County

TAMPA (WFLA) – A Rhode Island sex offender is behind bars accused of speaking to two Florida teens over Instagram.

According to the Department of Justice, 31-year-old Nicholas Sannicandro began talking to two Sarasota County teens about fishing through Instagram.

He later sent the boys fishing lures through the mail. A suspicious parent contacted North Port Police and an undercover detective began communicating, assuming the identity of one of the young boys.

The registered sex offender talked about taking a fishing trip together and shared sexually explicit material with the boys.

According to court records, Nicholas Sannicandro was convicted in 2011 in Massachusetts for possession of child pornography, and he was required to register as a sex offender. Subsequently, he was convicted twice in 2018 in Massachusetts for disseminating matter harmful to a minor.

On Tuesday, FBI agents, with the assistance of the North Port Police Department, Rhode Island State Police, members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Warwick Police Department, arrested Sannicandro on a federal criminal complaint charging him with attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor and commission of a specified sexual exploitation offense by a person required to register as sex offender.

Law enforcement agents and officers also executed court-authorized searches of Sannicandro’s Smithfield residence and boat docked in Warwick.

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