Steven Thomas thought he was about to hit a perverted hole in one when he presumed he was arranging a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl via her mother through the Internet. Instead he wound up in an online-sting sand trap. Thomas, a pro golfer who has played at several PGA tour events, was one of 40 men arrested during the Osceola County Sheriff's Office's "Operation Red Cheeks."
Undercover detectives posed online as either underage children or their parents. Thomas thought he was chatting with a woman who would arrange sex between him and her 13-year-old daughter. He even sent the woman a picture of him golfing.
Thomas lives in Tupelo, Mississippi, but traveled all the way to Florida for the rendezvous. When he arrived, he was instead greeted by cops. According to the Orlando Sentinel, deputies searched his SUV and found three condoms, two jars of chocolate pudding, and a bottle of honey. Thomas confessed to the crime.
Thomas had played one season on the PGA tour, and according to the league's official website racked up only one top-ten finish during the 44 events he played. He had been active on the senior tour as recently as 2010.
Among the other suspects netted in Operation Red Cheeks: a 70-year-old beekeeper, a 36-year-old middle school teacher, a 26-year-old soldier, a 29-year-old youth swim coach, and several college students.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!