Tulsa Sex Offenders Who Claim To Be Homeless Targeted In 'Operation Hide And Seek'
TULSA, Oklahoma - Twenty-four sex offenders were arrested after a joint operation between the Tulsa Police Department, the U.S. Marshals and the District Attorney's Office called Operation Hide and Seek.
The operation targeted sex offenders who registered as homeless in Tulsa but were not actually living on the street. They said sex offenders do it to fly under the radar from law enforcement.
The offenders have committed crimes all the way from exposing themselves in public to rape, and police said not knowing where an offender is makes them even more dangerous.
Tulsa Police and the U.S. Marshals have been checking in on every sex offender in town registered as homeless, making sure they are where they say they are.
"When we have offenders that are failing to register, and just flat out not coming in or registering a false addresses, they are hiding within the community," said Sergeant John Adams with Tulsa Police.
Some offenders will "hide" by listing places as their home address - like a field next to a substation on North Garnett - but not actually be there.
"They chose areas to registered as homeless that were outside of safe-zones and so that's why there was one large concentration at 1010 North Garnett," Adams said.
Officer William Bonham said, “They register as homeless but then they go live with their mother, their girlfriend or some family member."
Bonham runs the offender registry and said the task force made sure the offenders were breaking the law.
"The D.A.'s office requested that we check five times, different times of the day, different days of the week, and we went above that and checked eight times," he said.
They said cracking down on sex offenders keeps families safe.
"These are individuals that are lying and pretending that they are homeless so that they could continue to live where they wanted, continue to do what they wanted despite the fact that they were sex offenders. That's unacceptable," said Eric Grayless with the Tulsa County D.A.’s Office.
Police said as long as an offender knows they're being watched they are less likely to commit the same crimes.
The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office said it will be prosecuting each one of the offenders to the fullest extent of the law.