Sarasota man pretending to be a teen arrested for sex with minor - WNCT

Sarasota man pretending to be a teen arrested for sex with minor

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

Deputies say a married man from Pinellas County pretended to be a teenager online and traveled to have sex with a Sarasota teenager.

Now deputies want to find his other alleged victims.

27-year-old Andrew Brandt is a married man who lives in Seminole, but deputies say online, he assumes the role of a 17-year-old teenager named 'Mike Berns.'

Sarasota deputies say in February, he used this identity on the social website Tagged.com and met a 15-year-old Sarasota girl.

Between March and August, he traveled numerous times to meet and have sex in his truck or in hotels.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Wendy Rose said, "This is a perfect case of what can happen when you meet total strangers online."

She turned 16 in June and the relationship soon ended. It was then she learned his true identity, his age, and the fact that he was married.

Her mother called authorities and he was arrested in Pinellas County this week.

Rose said, "We believe that after speaking with the suspect there may be other teenage victims, both in Sarasota County, Pinellas county, we're not sure where."

Authorities say he also went by the fake name 'Andy Berns' and he lured girls on social websites.

So deputies released this story to find other victims, and to provide a lesson to parents- You need to know who your kids talk to.

"When you meet people online that you don't know first in person, they can be anything they want to be,” said Rose.

He is charged with three counts of Lewd or Lascivious Battery on a Victim Over 12 and Under 16, and three counts of Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor.

Brandt is currently being held in the Pinellas County Jail on $60,000 bond and will soon be transferred to the Sarasota County Jail.

Anyone with information about him should contact the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Section at 941.861.4900.

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