A Hazle Township man is behind bars for attempting to purchase a 15 year old girl online.
David M. Bereznak of Ebervale is charged with
- Trafficking in Minors, Felony 1
- Criminal Attempt – Trafficking in Minors, Felony 1
- Criminal Solicitation – Trafficking in Minors, Felony 1
- Criminal Solicitation – Statutory Sexual Assault: 11 Years Older, Felony 1
- Unlawful Contact With Minor – Sexual Offenses, Felony 1
- Criminal Attempt – Patronizing Victim of Sexual Servitude, Felony 2
- Corruption Of Minors – Defendant Age 18 or Above, Felony 3
- Criminal Use Of Communication Facility, Felony 3
According to a criminal complaint, around 6:28 p.m. on Friday January 25, Brookville Borough Police Officer Turnbull was working undercover in an ongoing sex trafficking sting when he received the message "Hey".
Officer Turnbull responded to this message with a prewritten message describing the rates and location of a supposed escort/message group. The prewritten message was the result of an ad that had been posted on website that is believed to be used in the prostitution and trafficking of minors.
Bereznak responded that he was 150 miles away. He requested to see who he would be meeting and again contacted at 8:21 p.m. with three question marks. At 12:57 a.m. on Saturday, January 26, Bereznak contacted again saying that he would like to plan a trip on Saturday.
Officer Turnbull asked if he was going to drive 150 miles, and Bereznak responded that he would if he knew it was going to be worth his time.
Bereznak then said he might even be able to assist in expanding the services, so people won’t have to drive as far. Recognizing this to be indicative of human trafficking – offering to expand the business of prostitution – the officer informed him that he was interested.
Bereznak told the officer that he did not want to drive all the way for nothing and would like to see what the officer had to offer. Turnbull sent the person three pictures of females with photos acquired from open source social media and known persons to law enforcement. With these pictures, the officer included the ages 15 and two other minors.
Bereznak asked the attitudes of each person. The officer gave the Bereznak the attitudes of each fictitious female. The person then asked about a deal for all three females given how far away he was. The officer gave Bereznak a price for all three for four hours. Bereznak then asked about rates for the girls if he has just two and just one, and the officer provided Bereznak given rates for this situation. Bereznak then asked if he could take a girl with him when he leaves, according to the complaint.
Bereznak wanted to start his business and the officer informed Bereznak he would let him have the female that was a “problem child” for $300.00.
Bereznak replied that he wanted another one who would later serve as an example to the other girls he intended to get. The officer informed Bereznak for that girl it would be $600.00.
The officer asked Bereznak for a photo of himself, and after some discussion, he sent a picture of himself with his fingers over his face. Bereznak was hesitant to send this picture reporting that this is not the type of text message conversation you want your face connected to.
Bereznak also asked the officer for guidance in the process of how to conduct a prostitution operation – this was new to him.
Bereznak asked for a nude picture of the underage girl to confirm that the person he was talking to was not the police. Bereznak said he knows the police cannot send nudes like that, so he would know if the persona was the police or not based on if the picture was sent. He said this kind of picture would bring peace of mind to him.
Officer Turnbull sent a picture found through a Google search. At the same time, Bereznak said he was in Snowshoe, Pa. When Bereznak told the officer that he was near the 101 Exit, he was given the location of the Super 8 Motel as the meeting place.
When Bereznak sent a message that he was at the red light, Officer Turnbull informed Chief Markle and Officer Gray that the target was about to pull in. Officer Turnbull observed a 2014 orange colored Jeep pull in and stop at the designated point. Chief Markle and Officer Gray pulled in and conducted a high-risk style stop on the man.
Bereznak initially told police he did not know what was going on or why.
Police identified him as David Bereznak.
Bereznak told police that he had simply come to verify that what was going on was actually going on before he called the police.
Bereznak was transported to the station by Officer Gray. He continued with the position that he simply came to verify the girls needed to be rescued, the complaint states.
Bereznak was arraigned at 8:44 p.m. on Sunday, January 27, in Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock’s office.
Unable to post $50,000.00 monetary bail (10%), he was lodged in the Jefferson County Jail.
A date for a preliminary hearing has not yet been set.
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