A 36-year-old Tampa man has been arrested after police say he lured a 14-year-boy from California to Tampa.
Tampa Police arrested Tony McLeod at Tampa International Airport early Tuesday morning as he was getting off an airplane with the boy.
The boy is from Escondido, which is about an hour north of San Diego. On Wednesday, he faced a judge back in Hillsborough County.
McLeod was denied bond for charges on kidnapping, traveling to meet a minor and transmission of harmful material to a minor.
"I think the boy's just going through a lot of transitions in his life and he really hasn't figured out exactly what's going on," Major Brian Dugan of the Tampa Police Department said.
According the Escondido Police Department, McLeod and the boy met through an online Playstation gaming network in May. Escondido Police say McLeod then began sending the 8th grade student sexually explicit text messages and pictures to his cell phone.
"It's certainly a classic of online grooming by a sexual predator," said Lt. Neal Griffin of the Escondido Police Department. "What this indicates to police is how sophisticated these predators can be."
Police say McLeod traveled to California on Monday, and somehow convinced the teen to board a direct flight with him from Long Beach, California to Tampa.
The boy's parents reported him missing around 2 p.m. on Monday after he didn't return home from school.
When the plane landed just after 6 a.m. Tuesday morning at Tampa International Airport, McLeod was arrested and the teen was taken into protective custody.
"I think when you go to a different state and you bring a 14-year old boy back and you're an adult and the cops are waiting for you on the runway, I think the gig is up," Dugan said.
McLeod has no criminal history in Tampa. Police are now taking a closer look at his history to see if there are any other potential victims out there.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?