Man arrested just 40 miles from Youngstown for human trafficking - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Man arrested just 40 miles from Youngstown for human trafficking

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ALLIANCE, Ohio - A disturbing case out of Alliance, as a man is charged with human trafficking, and three other felony crimes, for allegedly offering to pay $400 to purchase a 10-year-old girl.

21 News had the only local camera in the courtroom as 36-year-old Robert W. Thomas, Junior answered to a Judge by video arraignment.

Just one week ago, Alliance Police detectives say Thomas posted a classified ad on social media, looking for someone willing to arrange a "marriage" of their daughter with him.

That posting led to an undercover sting operation by Alliance Police and officers working with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and a shocking arrest.

Thomas of Tudor Street in Cuyahoga Falls, was taken into custody in the parking lot of an Alliance business and charged with human trafficking, attempting to commit kidnapping, attempting to commit rape, and possession of criminal tools on Saturday, January 11th at approximately 5:15pm.

Detective Matthew Shatzer with the Alliance Police Department, also works with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and says he's never encountered any crime like this.

"When one of our other officers started communicating with him through chat messages or emails, he did make reference that he wanted a child between the ages of 5 and 8, or 10 and 14," Detective Shatzer said.

Detectives say 36-year-old Robert Thomas, Junior had $400 in his hand when he arrived hoping to buy a child to live in his home as his sex slave. Officers say he wanted to quote, "train her to please him."

But Thomas was surprised as police arrived to arrest him.

"It's very disturbing that there's individuals like this out there, and like I said, I'm just glad we had the opportunity to intercept him and be able to place him under custody, and for him not to have the opportunity to offend a real 5 to 8 year old child," Detective Shatzer said.

After his arrest, a search warrant was executed at Thomas' home.

Police found not only sex related items and videos, but 7 guns and assault rifles, one with a grenade launcher mounted on it.

Thomas, a mechanic by trade -- is being held on $2-Million bond in the Stark County Jail, he's scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Friday morning.

Alliance Police say Thomas' case has also been referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office, and Thomas could also face federal charges for human trafficking.

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