The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office’s Human Oppression Strike Team, or G.H.O.S.T. traveled north last week to help the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Office arrest two men who arrived in the area looking to have sex with an underage girl.
Presque Isle is the 52nd county G.H.O.S.T. has worked with doing similar operations. “We started G.H.O.S.T. in May of 2018,” said Chris Swanson, sheriff for Genesee County. “We’ve made 190 predator arrests. We’ve never lost a confession. We’ve never been challenged on a successful entrapment defense. We put good cases together.”
On July 26, 69–year–old William Duby from Gaylord and 67–year–old Thomas Kurtz of Traverse city were arrested for traveling to the area for sex with who they thought was a 15–year–old girl. Instead, they met law enforcement.
Sheriff Joe Brewbaker of Presque Isle County said this is an example showing that these kinds of situations can happen anywhere, even in less populated areas like northern Michigan. “We’ve got to get out of that thinking that it can’t happen here because guess what it did happen here,” he said. “It is happening here every day. As long as I’m the sheriff, I’m going to keep protecting our kids, protect our people, because that’s why we’re here.”
During the operation, there were almost 100 men that responded to officers posing as a decoy. The two men arrested weren’t the only one’s expected to show up. “We were expecting two more. So, at least four,” Brewbaker said. “We had a couple more that were really good prospects online. One was almost here… but the weather hurt it and turned them around.”
As for the men who didn’t show up, they’re still on the radar of law enforcement. “Online presence and profiles–we have investigative tools,” said Swanson. “Not to be coy, but once you go down that path then you’re identified and we’ll be back.”
Both William Duby and Thomas Kurtz are facing charges for using a computer to commit a crime and attempting to accost a minor for immoral purposes.