Suspect thought it would be 'cool' to see undercover sex sting

Gainesville man faces 4 felony charges in Volusia County

Volusia County Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Bowen
Volusia County Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Bowen

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A Gainesville man caught in an underage sex sting told deputies he only came to the meeting place because he thought it would be cool to see an undercover sting in action, deputies said.

A Volusia County Sheriff’s Office release said James Bowen, 34, is one of seven men who experienced firsthand how “cool” the agency’s operation to catch internet predators was last week.

Despite his claims of innocence, officials said Bowen was arrested Sunday when he showed up at a Deltona gas station following sexually charged chats and texts with an undercover detective he believed was a 14-year-old girl. Bowen was charged with attempted lewd and lascivious act on a child, use of a computer to seduce or lure a child, and traveling to seduce or solicit a child. 

The operation ran from Wednesday to Sunday, with suspects ranging in age from 22-49.

Bowen, who said he was the co-owner a Gainesville barber shop, was held on $40,000 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.