18 Men Arrested In Undercover Sex Sting In Florida Parks

"Operation Park Hopper" was targeting lewd activity in Volusia County.

A four-day sting operation in six Volusia County parks resulted in the arrest of 17 men for lewd activity and one man for battery last week.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said his deputies began “Operation Park Hopper” after receiving complaints from park patrons, as well as the fact that more parents and children would be using the parks now that school is not in session.

The sheriff claims that the suspects, ranging in age from 28 to 73, had all been caught soliciting sexual acts in open view of public areas.

“If you insist on going in our parks and trails and engaging in this type of despicable behavior, you may find yourself in handcuffs,” Chitwood said at a news conference over the weekend. “It’s important that we set the tone that our parks and trails are safe for families.”

The undercover deputies sat on park benches during the sting and waited for men to approach. Those arrested often steered the conversation toward sex, began to rub the officers or expose their genitalia to them, according to police reports.

“It’s disgraceful,” Chitwood told WFTV. “There’s a bunch of dirty old men (whose) thrill is exposing themselves to other men in broad daylight, in the park. I don’t get it. But then again, I think most normal human beings would never get it.”

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.