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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Probe by Fruitland Park police detective lands man behind bars for soliciting minor

Ryan Cobb
Ryan Cobb

An investigation conducted by a Fruitland Park police detective has resulted in the arrest of a Longwood man on charges of traveling to meet and solicitation of a minor.

Seminole County sheriff’s deputies took 25-year-old Ryan Cobb into custody on Thursday. He was booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford and was being held on $7,000 bond on Friday afternoon.

Fruitland Park Police officers first came in contact with Cobb on Jan. 2 when they stopped him for speeding shortly before 12:30 a.m. When officers made contact with Cobb, they noticed a juvenile female passenger in his gray SUV who was dressed “provocatively.” While speaking with Cobb and the juvenile, officers noted several inconsistencies with where they met, where they were coming from and where they were going. Officers then separated the two and the juvenile said she had met Cobb online and requested a ride home, which he agreed upon in exchange for sex, a report states.

Cobb then allegedly traveled from his Longwood home to Ocala to meet the juvenile. After he picked her up, they headed for Tavares and Cobb was stopped for speeding on U.S. Hwy. 27/441. The juvenile was subsequently turned over to her parents and Cobb was released pending further investigation, the report says.

Fruitland Park Police Det. Sgt. Brian Hilberer, who is a member of the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, immediately launched a follow-up investigation. Search warrants were issued and Hilberer was able to obtain data from the social media companies involved in the communication between Cobb and the juvenile, the report says.

Hilberer then located the transcripts of the conversations between Cobb and the juvenile, which outlined his intentions to have sex with the juvenile, the report says. Hilberer presented the investigation to the State Attorney’s Office and a warrant was subsequently issued for Cobb’s arrest, which resulted in deputies from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office taking him into custody, the report says.

“This is a great example of our law enforcement officers being aware of common crime trends and asking the right questions on the side of the road,” Fruitland Park Police Chief Erik Luce said. “They really did a great job.”

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