Canandaigua Police Chief on undercover sex sting operation
CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WHEC) — A former Walworth Town Board Member and Fire Chief is the latest person accused of attempting to have sex with a child in an undercover sting operation lead by the Canandaigua Police Department.
Karel Ambroz, 57, was arrested Thursday after he showed up to have sex with someone he thought was 14-years-old. Ambroz has since resigned from both his positions.
Ambroz is at least the fifth person to be arrested as part of the sting operation in Canandaigua this month. The crackdown on sex offenders has become something of a passion project for Canandaigua PD. The initiative is headed by a special detective within the department.
"What he does is he develops social media accounts and he represents himself as a child on several different social media platforms," said Chief Mathew Nielsen.
The detective poses as both boys and girls. Once the accounts are up, the detective waits for people like Karel Ambroz to make contact.
The department works to conceal this detective’s identity due to the sensitive nature of his investigations, but Chief Nielsen says the detective often spends many extra hours chatting late into the night with potential predators.
"Our detective actually spends a lot of his own time off-duty interacting with these guys because these people don’t hold a time frame that lines up with our workday," Chief Nielsen said.
News10NBC confirmed on Friday that Ambroz is a former Fire Chief and Town Board Member in Walworth, and has resigned from both positions. Walworth FD sent a statement saying in part:
"Both the District and the Fire Department emphatically denounce his alleged actions and conclude that this behavior is not in compliance with both district and fire department policy."
Canandaigua PD has made at least four other sting operation arrests in the month of July: David Kepner (61), Josh Maslyn (38), Jeremy Worthington (34), and Frank Garofolo (56). The reason we’ve been seeing more arrests of this nature recently is that the department has had more time and resources to devote to this operation. Chief Nielsen expects to continue to devote training time and resources to this cause.
"Several people in our detectives… we’re giving them education on how to conduct these investigations,” Chief Nielsen said. “There will be more of our officers involved in it, as well as, I know other departments are doing the same."
A father of three teenage girls himself, Chief Nielsen gave News10NBC some tips for parents about what to look out for to keep kids safe online.
1) Check their phones to see what they’re doing, and be mindful of private conversations. When strangers want to take things from public to private, it’s a red flag.
"A lot of times what happens is they reach out to [the detective] on one of the social media platforms, and then they request him to go off to either a chatroom or then they get into texting back and forth," Chief Nielsen said.
2) You’ll also want to be aware of the location settings on your child’s social media platforms.
"Some of these social media platforms have GPS attached to the account so the person can see where the child or the detective would be," Chief Nielsen said.
3) Watch gaming platforms as well.
“There’s a lot of different platforms on the gaming devices where they have communication with people that are also playing a game over the internet," Chief Nielsen said.
As you do your research, predators do theirs. Chief Nielsen said he’s even seen predators drive through the police department’s parking lot to see which cars are out. The bottom line is to be vigilant about monitoring your child’s online activity.