2015-05-20 / For The Record

Burke trucker jailed in internet predator sting

By Elizabeth Billips

Reginald Grubbs Reginald Grubbs A Waynesboro truck driver was among 22 people arrested in a four-day sweep of internet sex predators.

Reginald Grubbs, 40, got caught up in the sting Sunday afternoon when allegedly he drove to Augusta with intentions of meeting a child to have sex.

He is charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation.

All 22 arrests were part of Operation Mayday, an undercover investigation coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Crimes Unit, the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Sixteen additional agencies, including the FBI, assisted.

The entire operation was aimed at arresting sexual predators who troll chartrooms and social media sites in hopes of communicating with minors and eventually gaining their trust in order to meet them for sex.

The investigation had been in the works for several months, and all of the suspects had been communicating online with an investigator who was pretending to be a child.

According to the GBI, most of the offenders believed they were chatting with 14 or 15-year-olds, and more than one agreed to make “trades” of valuable items for sex.

However, when the offenders arrived in Augusta at a prearranged meeting place, officers were waiting with handcuffs.

The lengthy booking list covered a wide range of ages and occupations.

With the exception of a female Fort Gordon soldier, all of the defendants are men and six admitted having previous sexual contact with children.

While most thought they were meeting girls, some were expecting young boys.

Among the more notable arrests were Martinez deputy jailer Ruben Reese, 52; Louisville correctional officer Travis Driggers, 34; and Poteet Funeral Home director Paul Kitchens, 44.

All of the suspects’ phones and digital devices were seized, and additional charges are pending as those devices are analyzed.

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