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Hesperia Man Arrested After Chatting with a Minor Online who was a Sheriff’s Detective

HESPERIA, Calif. ( — A 65-year-old Hesperia man was arrested for sex crimes after chatting online with a minor who was a sheriff’s detective, officials said.

On April 18, 2024, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Specialized Investigations Division, Crimes Against Children Detail, and the Specialized Enforcement Division (SED) conducted an undercover chat operation. 

During the operation, Thomas Patrick Hannett responded to a post made by an undercover Crimes Against Children Detail detective on an anonymous chat site.

According to sheriff’s officials, Hannett initiated a conversation with the detective, who acted as the persona of a 14-year-old girl. Hannett arranged to continue communication with the undercover persona outside of the original chat platform, under the username “Nighthawk_760”. 

During communication, Hannett agreed to meet with the undercover persona to engage in sexual acts.

At the conclusion of the investigation, Hannett was arrested and booked at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto for violation of PC 288(c)(1) Lewd Acts with a Minor 14 or 15 Years Old, PC 288.3(a) Contacting a Minor for Lewd Purpose, and PC 288.4(a)(1) Arranging to Meet a Minor for the Purpose of Committing a Sex Crime.  Hannett remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Detectives believe there may be additional victims and are releasing Hannett’s photograph. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Detective Wendy Winegar of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Crimes Against Children Detail at (909) 890-4904. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or leave information on the We-Tip website at   

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