Cop, teacher busted in child sex sting dubbed ‘Operation Home Alone’

Mike Montone
April 24, 2019 - 11:58 am
Peter Tuchol Jr and Kevin Roth

NJ Attorney General's Office

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TRENTON (1010 WINS) -- Authorities in New Jersey have announced the arrests of 16 alleged child predators charged with attempting to lure minors for sex via chat apps.

Among the suspects was an officer in the Ridgewood, New Jersey police department, a man who teaches high school science in the Bronx, and a traveling minister.

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Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo say the arrests were part of Operation Home Alone -- an undercover operation targeting men using social media to lure underage victims into sexual activity.

The 'children' were undercover cops.

Operation Home Alone
NJ Attorney General's Office

“The 16 men we arrested allegedly used social media to stalk victims they believed were vulnerable children who could be sexually exploited. Fortunately, their victims were really undercover officers prepared to put them in handcuffs,” Grewal said, “Parents need to know that the profiles of underage girls and boys we posted on social media to catch these offenders could easily have been profiles of their own children, who might also be targeted by predators on chat apps and popular gaming sites.  Our message to parents with Operation Home Alone is be on guard.  Our message to child predators is law enforcement is working overtime to find you and arrest you.”

The arrests were made between April 11 and 15. Seven people traveled to a sting house from locations in New York, with another coming from Philadelphia. Some allegedly sent pictures of their genitals to undercover cops, and one man was already facing sentencing on a prior child porn charge.

Among the men arrested was Officer Peter Tuchol Jr, 28, of Waldwick. He is accused of chatting with a girl he believed to be 15, and has been suspended from the Ridgewood Police Department. Kevin Roth, 26, is a teacher at the High School of Computers and Technology in the Bronx. Roth is accused of chatting with a boy who identified himself as a 15-year-old.

Parental warning issued after Operation Home Alone.
NJ Attorney General's Office

Authorities say specially trained cops conducted the chat on Kik, Skout, Grindr, Tinder, MeetMe and Adam4Adam. They claim that defendants typically initiated the conversations, and that undercover officers clearly identified themselves as underage girls and boys.

Officials say past arrests have involved dating apps as well as games like Fortnite and Minecraft.

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