Detectives with the Special Victims Unit of the Sheriff’s Department suspect a Mission Hills man solicited photos of a 14-year-old boy for money, according to investigators.
Cruz Caldera, 25, of Mission Hills, had two charges filed against him by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, alleged violations of 288.2(A)(1) and 288.3(A), according to court records.
Investigators believe the victim told the suspect he was underage, and the suspect then proceeded unsuccessfully tried to solicit nude pictures from the victim; however, there was an exchange of images, per detectives. The charges involve “communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense.
“He basically had contact with a minor via Snapchat and solicited photos from the minor in exchange for money,” said Sgt. Brian Hudson of the SVU. The suspect did not know the child and allegedly found the child at random using the Snapchat app.
The minor’s parents discovered the alleged interactions and contacted the Sheriff’s Department, which then investigated the claims. Detectives suspect the crimes took place around February or March.
Caldera, whose occupation was listed as stock, was arrested at his home by detectives July 14 and held in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to Sheriff’s Department arrest records. He was released on his own recognizance July 16 at 3:54 p.m.
Cruz has a hearing related to the matter set for Aug. 6, according to court records.