Detectives from the Peoria Police Department's Special Victims Unit arrested Jose Sanchez Figueroa, a 37-year-old Colorado man, for allegedly engaging in sexual contact with a minor.
The accused perv faces multiple felony counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, and molestation.
And he apparently was trolling for victims on Farm Story, a free smart phone application on which kids can "grow fruits, raise farm animals and decorate the most beautiful farms," according to its creators. And, they say, you can even "visit real neighbors to watch their crops grow."
Sanchez Figueroa apparently wasn't interested in growing crops.
Cops say that Sanchez Figueroa and his then-14 year old female victim first had contact on Farm Story. From there, he coaxed the victim into a private online chat room where they talked for about a month before making plans to meet in person.
It all came to light when the Peoria mother discovered her daughter has a new iPhone. The girl eventually came clean and told her that it was a gift from Sanchez Figueroa.
She also admitted to mom that two had "consensual" sexual encounters over three months.
Sanchez Figueroa made at least three trips to Arizona from Brighton, Colorado between June and August of this year, and on each trip engaged in sexual contact with his victim, police say.
He gave her roses, gifts of jewelry and the iPhone in exchange for her keeping their relationship secret.
During his trips to north Peoria, police reports indicate that they two "met in various fields and tunnels" around her house when her mom thought she was out jogging.
He felt up the young victim and put his fingers inside of her on his first visit from June 10 to June 12. On his second visit, from July 15 to July 17, after the girl turned 15, he gave her the iPhone, $40 cash and had unprotected sex with her in those tunnels and fields.
On August 7, he arrived in Arizona again because he wanted to see her before school started. They had sex in a tunnel.
When police started digging into the "relationship", they found more than 2, 500 text message and phone calls between the two since March 2011.
Cops then posed as the victim's mother and called Sanchez Figueroa. He admitted to the undercover cop that he loved the girl and wanted to marry her. At first he only admitted that the two "fooled around" during his visits, but later said that they had sex but "he did not put it in all the way, so he feels that she is still a virgin."
He agreed to meet the mother at a north Peoria Starbucks to "continue the conversation." He was followed by a surveillance team from the moment he landed at Sky Harbor until he reached the coffee shop, where cops promptly arrested him.
Peoria police officials caution parent to monitor their children's internet activity, but note that smart-phone technology is making that tougher.
"Like many apps, the one used in this case is a free download, and is not just a game: players interact with one another via the internet, which allows adults access to children," Peoria cops say in their news release.
Cops have only identified this one victim of Sanchez Figueroa, but say the investigation is ongoing.
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