PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Four alleged sexual predators are off the streets of Pierce County after a two-day operation involving the Washington State Patrol and other agencies.
Those arrested include 52-year-old Seattle firefighter Andrew Sapier. He has been with the SFD since 1998.
He was placed on administrative leave, according to a Fire Department spokeswoman.
The Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF) conducted “Operation Day Care,” which is similar to the 18 Net Nanny operations that have led to 292 arrests and rescued more than 31 children across Washington since 2015.
More than 30 officers, agents and staff members from the Seattle and Tacoma police departments, Washington State Patrol, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office led to the success of the operation.
The primary focus of the MECTF is to target individuals involved in child abuse and child exploitation over the internet.
“While the internet is a powerful tool for our nation, criminals using it to target our communities necessitates a need for proactive investigations by our troopers and law enforcement partners in order to combat these horrible crimes,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. He added, “This operation is aimed at protecting our vulnerable children and making communities safer.”
The crimes investigated by the task force included rape of a child and communications with a minor for immoral purposes.
According to a news release from the Washington State Patrol, the names of the arrested individuals are:
Andrew Sapier, of Seattle, 52
Bruce Dietzen, of Tacoma, 52
Joel Cruz-Rizo, of Bonney Lake, 22
Cesar Rosales, of Tacoma, 34
As for Sapier, Pierce County prosecutors on Thursday charged him with two counts of second-degree attempted child rape and felony communication with a minor for immoral purposes. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $25,000 bail, which he posted within 24 hours.
Charging documents state:
According to charging documents, a Washington State Patrol detective who was undercover and posing as a 13-year-old female on social media struck up a conversation with Sapier on social media.
During the conversation, the posing officer said, “My friend and I are just lookn for some fun,” and Sapier replied, “Well, I’m looking for any fun!.”
When Sapier was asked to move to texting, the conversation continued and he was asked “so us being 13 isnt a prob.”
Sapier responded: “Lol physically or mentally.” “Just the thought is ewe.”
The posing officer said: “I am not ur age,” and Sapier said, “OK I don’t care your age.”
As the texting conversation continued, allegedly there was discussion about Sapier bringing alcohol, drugs and condoms.
Sapier eventually arrived at a home in Tacoma and entered the house, where he was taken into custody and read his rights.
During a recorded interview with a Seattle detective, Sapier said he had come to meet the two girls he was chatting with and had seen a photo of the girls, who appeared to be 13 years old.
The records also stated: “... he came to the house in hopes that either they were not actually 13, or, if they were 13, to simply confirm that fact and take action from there. Sapier admitted to having drugs in his car.”
Court documents stated after the recorded interview, he stated “he might have been willing to have sex with two 13-year-olds.”
Information from The News Tribune was used in this report.