OPD makes ‘Catch a Predator’ arrest

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2011

A “To Catch a Predator” type operation by the Opp Police Department landed a Crossover Ministries client from Auburn in jail after he allegedly used Facebook to solicit a 14-year-old girl.

Opp Police investigator Mark Kyser said a report was made Monday by the girl’s parents that a man in the Opp area had contacted underage girls and made sexual comments to them on the social media Web site Facebook.

William Pilkington

The man was later identified as 39-year-old William Allen Pilkington.

“After receiving the complaint, an investigator logged onto the girl’s Facebook account as though he was the girl,” Kyser said. “He then began chatting with the man on Tuesday afternoon and continued on into the early morning hours on Wednesday.”

Kyser said the chat lasted approximately 12 hours when, “the man started making sexual remarks and suggested meeting the girl.”

Kyser said a meeting was arranged at a location in the Heath Community; however, a short distance from the pre-arranged meeting place, officers pulled over a white Chevrolet van driven by Pilkington at about 12:33 a.m. Thursday.

Other reports indicate Pilkington had apparently stolen the van from Crossover Ministries, where he was currently undergoing rehabilitation, to make it to the meeting.

After he was taken into custody, Pilkington was charged with electronic solicitation of a child, traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act and first-degree theft of property. He was booked into the Covington County Jail and held on a $1 million bond.

The case remains under investigation by the Opp Police Department and the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, the county district attorney’s office and the Alabama Bureau of Investigations Cyber Crimes Unit.

This is the second local arrest in the last week of electronic solicitation of a minor. Last Friday, an Andalusia man was arrested for allegedly using Facebook to send sexually explicit instant messages to a local boy.