Columbia County sheriffs nab online predator in sting operation

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

A Lincoln County man is behind bars after a police set-up. Officers posed as a 14-year old girl on the Internet and lured him to a public park.

35-year old David John Riordan is charged with violating the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation acts.

Police surprised him Friday, June 9.

Officers say Riordan thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl. Instead, he was met by a swarm of investigators.

It was a long drive from his home in Lincolnton to what would be the scene of his arrest.

"Basically they said that he was shocked," says Maj. James Whitaker of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department.

35-year-old David Riordan was shocked when handcuffed at the Savannah River Pavilion.

Riordan thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl there he'd been chatting with online.

"He did make a call to make sure she was there. She told him where she was at, what she was wearing, things of that such, and he did show up with intentions of meeting her," says Maj. Whitaker.

But instead, he was met by a team of undercover cops who'd been secretly monitoring his chats and e-mails with a fictitious female teen.

Officers say the contrived relationship had been going on for weeks, and that their intersection would have to come at the right time in the right place.

Investigators chose the playground at Savannah Rapids based on its location. Just in case their suspect became uncooperative, it's likely few people would be nearby.

However, Maj. Whitaker says the arrest went seamlessly, and he's confident it will send a message to other online predators.

"All I can say is beware, if you're on the online chat rooms, of who you're meeting, because the sheriff's office will be watching and monitoring," Maj. Whitaker says.

That's a lesson Riordan had no idea he'd learn.

David Riordan remains behind bars at the Columbia County Detention Center, without bond due to the nature of the case.

The investigation is ongoing, and additional evidence is still being collected.

Riordan is charged with violation of the Computer Pornography and the Child Exploitation acts.


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