Police report 35 arrests in child sex sting; warn against rental and phone scams

35 men arrested in Pinellas sex sweep
CLEARWATER — Clearwater police arrested 35 men during a four-day, multi-agency online sting dubbed “Operation Home Alone.”
The sting, which targeted adults trying to have sex with children, started Thursday and ended Monday morning.
Twelve investigators went undercover into websites such as Facebook,,, and The response was overwhelming, said police Chief Anthony Holloway. One detective had 40 people make overtures toward her within five minutes of getting online.
“It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” Holloway said. “We didn't expect that many people to hit on us that quickly.”
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City police are warning citizens to be wary of recent suspicious activities
RENTAL SCAMS: A suspect is posting vacation rental ads on Craigslist for The Grande condo complex on Sand Key. The complex in question does not even offer weekly rentals and the rental fees that are charged are much higher than the prices advertised. Do not fall for this scam or others like it.
SCAMMER CALLS: Police are warning residents to be leery of phone calls from people claiming to work for Microsoft, the computer software company. The suspect callers will ask residents to turn on their computers so they can walk them through a series of instructions, which in most cases is an attempt to access files on your computer that contain banking information and passwords. If you receive a phone call, do not give the caller any information. Hang up the phone and call the fraud hotline.
If you have any questions or information about these scams or other scams, call the police fraud hotline at (727) 562-4424.
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