Alliance police arrest man who tried to buy girl for sex

ALLIANCE -- Alliance police arrested a Cuyahoga Falls man after he tried to purchase a 10-year-old girl for sex from an undercover police officer Saturday night.

Robert W. Thomas Jr., 36, was arrested in the 2300 block of West State Street at about 5:15 p.m. following a weeklong investigation.

An Alliance officer working with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force responded to Thomas's alleged online post seeking anyone willing to arrange a "marriage" of their daughter to him, police said.

Police say Thomas requested a child in the 5- to 8-year-old range, offering to pay $400 in cash for her. The man told the undercover officer that he wished to keep the child permanently at his home to engage in sexual conduct and, police say, to "train her to please him."

After a brief conversation with cash in hand Saturday, Thomas was led to a van where he thought he would obtain the child but instead was met by a team of officers who arrested him.

Alliance detectives also executed a search warrant at Thomas' Cuyahoga Falls home. They found a computer, electronic storage devices, sexual paraphernalia, videos and several firearms, such as handguns and assault rifles -- including a rifle with a grenade launcher mounted on it.

Thomas is charged with trafficking in persons, attempted kidnapping, attempted rape and possessing criminal tools.

He is being held in Stark County Jail on a $2 million bond. Thomas will be arraigned in Alliance Municipal Court Monday.


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