Police to parents: talk to your kids about online predators

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Residents are coming to grips with news about a man living in their neighborhood who is accused of having sex with a child after taking him from his home.

"It’s a shock," said Rick Fong.

Those living in the 1500 block of West Morelos St., near Pecos and Dobson roads, said they can't believe the man living there, 47- year-old Brad Cooper picked up a 14-year-old-boy and drove nearly 3 thousand miles across the country in order to have sex with him.

"It was big news for us," said Fong.

Betsy lives near the suspect, and she said she never saw or heard anything suspicious.

"No noise nothing. I never even saw the guy," she said.

Rick Fong said he saw Cooper a few times outside, but had no suspicions either.

"I may have said hi hello when I was walking with my dog and all of a sudden everything changed,” he said.

Police said the boy told them he ran away from home with Cooper after meeting him online.

They said at first, Cooper posed as a 16-year-old named Trent, even talking to the child's mother over the phone to try to convince her to let the boy move in with him.

In police documents, Cooper admits to having sex with the boy during their trip from Massachusetts to Arizona and then again several times once they arrived at Cooper's home.

Cooper also allegedly admitted he knew the boy was underage and said he's attracted to males ranging in age from 14 to 40.

Cooper was arrested at his home and is in custody without bond.

Detective Seth Tyler with the Chandler Police Dept. said parents need to talk to their kids about online predators.

"Let them know that when they are online that there are predators out there looking to victimize them," said Tyler.

Detective Tyler said parents should also restrict online use.

But he said communication is the most important thing for parents and their children.

"Kids and parents really need to have a relationship where if the child comes across something or someone or a different type of website introduces itself to the child then the child can communicate with the parent that that occurred," said Tyler.

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