A 39-year-old Little Rock man was arrested Friday in an internet sex sting conducted by the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office.
Joshua Stockton is currently being held in the county jail on internet stalking of a minor and theft by receiving charges.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the sheriff’s office reached out to Stockton on Thursday after locating a suspicious ad seeking an underage female online.
The undercover investigator sent an email to Stockton stating he had a 15-year-old girl available and from there the two continued to send messages back and forth until the moments leading up to Stockton’s arrest.
“The suspect made arrangements to meet at a predetermined location in Conway, Arkansas for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with the underage female,” the affidavit reads. “The suspect stated he would bring multiple sex toys and would arrive in a white Dodge pickup truck which would be marked with a pool cleaning company logo.”
According to radio traffic, undercover investigators keeping surveillance of Stockton in the moments leading up to arrest watched as he got out of his vehicle and stood next to the storage units by The Home Depot.
“FCSO personnel conducted surveillance in the area of the predetermined location and initially identified the suspect by the previously described vehicle information,” the affidavit reads. “FCSO personnel were also able to visually identify the suspect at the scene based on photos that the suspect had previously sent in the online communications.”
The affidavit states the lead investigator remained in contact with Stockton throughout the investigation, noting Stockton sent him a photo to confirm when he arrived to the predetermined location.
Investigators quickly blocked in Stockton’s vehicle and arrested him just after 1 p.m. Friday.
After detaining Stockton, investigators began to inventory the items in Stockton’s vehicle.
“At the time of his arrest, the suspect was found in possession of multiple sex toys, including a ball-gag, nipple clamps, and rope,” the affidavit reads.
Investigators also confiscated a cell phone as evidence and charged Stockton with theft by receiving for the stolen tags that were found on the truck he was driving. Stockton told police he had paid a friend $100 for the stolen temporary tags, noting he purchased the truck two months prior and had not yet tagged the vehicle in his name.
In an interview following his arrest, Stockton told authorities he had no intentions of engaging in sexual intercourse with the the underage girl.
“The suspect confirmed knowing the underage female was 15 years old and the suspect confirmed making arrangements to meet the [undercover] profile and the underage [girl] for the purpose of sexual intercourse with the underage female,” the affidavit reads. “The suspect stated he would not have engaged in illegal contact with the female but that he was going to murder the [undercover] profile for his actions with the alleged 15 year old female.”
Stockton’s arrest marks the 23rd sex sting the sheriff’s office has conducted thus far this year and the third bust this month.
FCSO spokesman Adam Bledsoe said the sheriff’s’s office continuously works to deter the criminal element out of Faulkner County.
“These sexual predators could easily victimize the youth of our community and we will see to it that we always work toward preventing these types of crimes from occurring,” he said on Sheriff Tim Ryals’s behalf.
Ryals cautioned parents to be aware of their children’s online conversation in order to better protect them from predators.
“For those of us who have children or grandchildren, these children are the most important things to us in our lives,” he said. “Their safety and well-being supersedes even our own lives. Child predators focus on opportunity and vulnerability. For example, internet stalking and telling a child what they want to hear. They are predators.”
Ryals said he also recommended parents be mindful of their children’s daily schedules and any activities they participate in.
“I encourage that every parent pay close attention to their children’s activities after school, on the phone, and especially when on the internet,” he said. “There’s no need to fear daily routine but just be aware of what your children are doing.”
Stockton is set to appear in Faulkner County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Sept. 18 for a plea and arraignment hearing.
The Log Cabin Democrat will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.