Melvin Bridgers; Suspected Facebook predator in federal custody in Tampa

Feds: Social media used to lure victims

TAMPA, Fla. - A man federal authorities say is a Facebook predator is being held in custody in Tampa.

The U.S. Department of Justice says that Melvin Bridgers, during 2013 and 2014, used multiple Facebook accounts to pose as a teenage female and befriend other minor girls.

Bridgers, according to investigators, would coerce them into sending sexually graphic photos to him on Facebook.

The girls, according to federal officials, would then be threatened by Bridgers to send additional pictures or he would expose them to their parents.

In 2011 Palm Beach Gardens police arrested Bridgers on video voyeurism charges.

Police say that Bridgers was arrested at the Gardens Mall after an off duty Palm Beach Gardens police officers saw him crouch down and take upskirt photos of a young girl.

Bridgers was caught while trying to flee the mall. After that incident information on the Palm Beach County Clerk's website indicates Bridgers fled and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Federal investigators say that they became aware of Bridgers' activities on Facebook after being notified by a parent in Texas.