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WICKED: Florida Man Arrested for Allegedly Meeting 14-Year-Old Girl Online and Attempting Abduction

by Jessica

A St. Petersburg man found himself in police custody on Wednesday following allegations that he had met a 14-year-old girl online and subsequently attempted to transport her to his residence, according to local law enforcement.

The Largo Police Department’s involvement began in June 2023 when officers responded to a report of a 14-year-old runaway. Upon their arrival, they initiated conversations with the girl’s concerned parents, who had recently discovered that their daughter had been communicating secretly with an adult male through the social media platform Snapchat.

Investigators soon uncovered that this adult male, identified as 26-year-old Austin Lawrence Powers, had not only been communicating with the teenager but had also picked her up on at least one occasion, transporting her to his residence.

Subsequently, days later, Powers allegedly repeated this dangerous action, this time going to great lengths to disguise his true intentions. Police reported that Powers posed as one of the victim’s friends’ fathers when he met with the victim’s mother.

During this meeting, Powers reportedly claimed to be a parent of one of the victim’s friends and explained that he was taking her daughter to play with his own child at his residence.

After a thorough and extensive investigation, detectives were able to positively identify the suspect as Austin Powers, who, crucially, is a registered sex offender in the state of Florida. Additionally, records indicate that Powers had previously been arrested for a similar incident in Plant City back in 2016.

As a result of these findings, Powers now faces charges of traveling to meet a minor and lewd and lascivious molestation. It’s important to note that the investigation into this matter remains ongoing.

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