A two-month investigation into "sexting" culminated today in a Marshall County sting operation and the arrest of a Wheeling man now suspected of sending sexually explicit images to children.
George Rooker, 24, was arrested at 6 a.m. today at a car wash in the Marshall County community of Mt. Olivet, according to Chief Deputy Kevin Cecil. Rooker is accused of sending graphic pictures and video via a cellular phone to a 35-year-old Marshall County woman since February.
Cecil said Rooker was transported to the Wheeling Police Department where he was expected to be interviewed today in regard to explicit images received by children in the city. Rooker admitting to sending explicit video and photos to the Marshall County woman, according to Cecil.
He said marijuana also was found in Rooker's vehicle.
Cecil said today's sting operation was not the first attempt by deputies to arrest Rooker. He said the suspect did not show up for previous meetings arranged with Rooker by the woman and deputies. Cecil commended the woman for coming forward and taking part in Rooker's arrest today.
The woman agreed to meet the man this morning while police were watching and waiting near the car wash.
"She was the bait," Cecil said. "We were watching her. We swooped in and grabbed him. We had information from the investigation that Wheeling police were investigating the same phone number sending pictures and video to juvenile females. We went ahead and set it up so Wheeling can do their interview. We are going to pass it to the prosecutor's office. We are going to let them evaluate it, but he confessed to it."
Cecil said Rooker's arrest also was difficult because the images were sent from a pre-paid cellular phone. He said it made it impossible for investigators to uncover "subscriber" information. Cecil said investigators still do not know how Rooker may have accessed the woman's phone number.
"She tried so many ways to find out who he was," Cecil said. "Our last option was to set something up. We have no idea how he got the woman's number, but it wasn't a chance occurrence."