*Hat Tip: Kevin D.
A New Jersey police sergeant was among 24 pedophiles who were arrested in a child-sex sting in the state, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
In addition to the sergeant, a nurse, a firefighter and a Bronx resident were netted by the multi-agency sting based out of Toms River, authorities said.
The New Jersey State Police led the operation, and had the 24 sex criminals believing they were chatting with underage girls and boys online and arranging a meet-up, prosecutors said.
When the child molesters showed up to meet the underage kids — actually undercover police officers — they were arrested, authorities said. The 24 child rapists were taken into custody over a five-day period from Sept. 5 to Sept. 9.
“It is a frightening reality that sexual predators are lurking on social media, ready to strike if they find a child who is vulnerable,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a press release.
Howell Township police Sgt. Richard Conte, 47, was arrested in the operation for trying to meet a 15-year-old girl, authorities said. He was suspended from his job and ordered to turn over his weapons.
Richard Hoffman, a 23-year-old firefighter from Mays Landing, was arrested for trying to meet a 14-year-old girl, prosecutors said.
All 24 sex terrorists were held in the Ocean County Jail and faced detention hearings last week for attempting to lure or entice a child with a purpose to commit a criminal offense. One of the defendants — registered sex offender Thomas Blumensteel — was detained, and the rest were released under pre-trial supervision.