Stroudsburg, Monroe County - Many sexual predators are off the streets in the Poconos thanks in part to the Monroe County District Attorney's Office. The DA is aggressively fighting cyber crimes against children.
The office investigated more than 40 alleged internet sex crimes against children in 2012. Detective Brian Webbe is leading the charge. He runs the internet crime unit.
Webbe uses fake online profiles to catch predators. He said, "I think if anybody needs to be prosecuted, anybody needs to go to jail it's those that prey on kids and I feel that way even more so because I have three small kids myself."
Detective Webbe arrested more than a dozen suspected internet-based criminals in 2012. The crimes ranged from distributing child pornography to meeting underage people for sex.
So far eight criminals have plead guilty. Others are awaiting trial.
Webbe said he is most proud of an investigation involving an ambulance worker. He told us he caught paramedic Frank Bianco while posing as a teen. Bianco thought he was meeting a young teen for sex, but instead met detectives. Webbe said further investigation revealed Bianco was having about a dozen relationships with underage girls. He added, "He was actually having sex with some of these girls, one as young as 13 or 14 years old."
Parents told Eyewitness News they are happy Monroe County has detectives like Webbe. James Bentley reacted, "I think it's a great idea." Brittany Brown said, "It's great, you know, hopefully it helps and these guys get caught 'cause it's disgusting."
Experts say parents should not rely only on the police. They also need to work to protect their own kids. Webbe said, "Pay attention to what your kids are doing online. Make sure you monitor them. They are not going to like the invasion of their privacy but you have to be aware of what's going on in their online life just as much as in real life."