Police: Antioch Township man sent nude photos to undercover cops posing as children
Undercover detectives, posing as 12-year-old girls from New York and Virginia, helped Lake County officials apprehend a registered child sexual predator from Antioch Township and charge him with multiple sex offender crimes Monday.
Steven S. Tipman, 31, of the 39400 block of North Oak Avenue, is charged with failing to register a social media account, which is a class 3 felony. He is also charged with unlawful contact with a child by a child sexual offender and grooming, both class 4 felonies, according to Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Christopher Covelli.
Earlier this month, Lake County sheriff's officers received information that Tipman was communicating with who he believed were children from New York and Virginia, Covelli said in a news release.
Unbeknown to Tipman, the children were actually undercover detectives from New York State Police and Virginia State Police. During each of their online communications, Tipman sent nude photos of himself to the investigators.
Lake County sheriff's officers executed a search warrant of Tipman's home and with the assistance of police dog Browser, who specializes in sniffing out computer electronics, were able to seize several computers and other electronics.
Based on the evidence gathered in the search warrant, detectives believe Tipman has communicated with dozens of children and exchanged nude photos with them. Tipman primarily used the applications Snapchat, Meet24, and OKCupid to meet and begin conversations with the children, Covelli said.
Tipman remains in the Lake County jail on $500,000 bond, meaning he would need to provide $50,000 to be released while his trial is pending. He is scheduled to be in court next April 6.