Grand Island man charged with using Facebook as bait

Posted at 11:20 AM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 17:31:34-04

A Grand Island man could be facing at least 10 years in prison for what police are calling enticement of a minor.

According to authorities, a 15 year-old girl began communicating with 35-year old Anthony Weber via Facebook. The Victim responded to an advertisement seeking workers for a week-long cleanup effort that would pay $10.00/hour. Over the course of two days, the victim and Weber discussed the girl possibly working for the defendant over the summer. The girl advised Weber she was still in high school.

In subsequent conversations, Weber offered her alcohol, marijuana, and crack cocaine. At one point, Weber advised the teen that he wanted to "try u or 1 of ur friends." The victim replied "wdym" (what do you mean), and the defendant wrote, "If need some lovin." The victim replied that she just wanted some drugs and did not want to have sex. Weber replied "that's no good."

In September of 2017, the City of Tonawanda Police filed a report and alerted the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF). On September 20, 2017, the CETF searched the girl's phone with her and her mother's consent. CETF officers also assumed the victim's online identity and began communicating with Weber who asked multiple times for pictures of the Victim. On October 11, 2017, the two agreed to meet at the 7-Eleven store on Hinds Street in Tonawanda. Later that day, the defendant, driving a car also occupied by his minor son (in the back seat), approached an individual he believed to be the victim. Weber was taken into custody a short time later.

Weber was released on bond.