DELTONA, Florida — Buddy, this ain’t cool.
A Florida barber arrested in a undercover sting targeting men looking to have sex with underage girls, told deputies that he knew it was a setup but came to the rendezvous anyway because he thought it would be cool to watch it go down.
James Bowen, 34, a co-owner of Bob’s Barber Shop in Gainesville, was busted at a RaceTrac gas station in Deltona where he had arranged online to meet a 14-year-old girl who was really an undercover detective, the Volusia County Sheriff’s office said.
But as he was being slapped in cuffs, Bowen told officers that “he only came to the meeting place because he believed it was an undercover sting and he thought it would be cool to see it in action,” cops quoted him as saying.
Officers assured Bowen that it was not cool and charged him with attempted lewd and lascivious sexual battery on child, among other charges. He was held on $40,000 bond.
Bowen was busted as part of a broader, county-wide sting that nabbed seven suspects. Others included Jonathan William Hayes, 22, a former Florida Elks Youth Camp counselor and George Wallace, 43, who had once chatted with undercover detectives about a rendezvous with an underage girl two years ago, but failed to show.