New Jersey authorities have announced the arrest of 31 people charged with sexually exploiting children online.
The effort was called Operation 24/7, with more than a dozen agencies targeting online child predators in the Garden State.
It’s a problem that officials say has only grown during the pandemic.
Among the dozens who were arrested was Ryan Olson of Williamstown, New Jersey.
“We allege Olson solicited underage girls on social media to play what he called a game, offering prizes and money in exchange for sexually explicit photos and videos of his victims,” said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal during a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Also arrested: Robert Reinhart of Telford, Pa., who police say traveled to West Deptford, N.J. to meet up with a 14-year-old girl who was actually an undercover detective.
Authorities say cases like these spiked during the pandemic last year and continue to cause alarm as minors spend more time on devices.
“The state police received 39% more tips in just the first six months of 2021 than they received for the entire year of 2019,” said Grewal.