Police arrest 1 in child enticement probe



SIDNEY — A 52-year-old Sidney man was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly trying to lure a 13-year-old Florida girl to Sidney.

Steven W. Knoop, 722 East Ave., is incarcerated at the Shelby County Jail and has been charged with disseminating material harmful to a juvenile, a fifth-degree felony, and one count of drug abuse, a first-degree misdemeanor.

According to a press release from Sidney Police Capt. Jerry A. Tangeman, on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, at approximately 9:30 a.m., investigators and officers from the Sidney Police Department (SPD) executed a search warrant at Knoop’s residence regarding a child enticement investigation.

The investigation was initiated when SPD was contacted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) after ICAC had been informed about an enticement incident involving a 13-year old-girl and a 52-year-old Sidney man. The investigation revealed, starting around August 2019 through September 2019, Knoop engaged in texting communication with the girl. During the course of the texting communications, Knoop engaged in a pattern of “grooming communication,” sent nudity oriented pictures to her, and had discussed plans to provide an airline ticket for the girl to come to Sidney to live with him. Some of these messages were discovered by the girl’s parents, who alerted ICAC.

Recovered during the search were computers, smart phone devices and marijuana. The computer and smart phone devices will be processed and analyzed for data relating to the enticement investigation.

Knoop was present at the residence when the warrant was executed and was arrested and transported to jail. As the investigation continues, other charges are very likely to be filed at a later date, said Tangeman.

Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact SPD at 937-498-2351 or Crime Stoppers at 937-492-8477 (TIPS).