Rexburg police arrested a 57-year-old Rigby man on Wednesday for attempted lewd conduct with a minor after he made plans to perform sexual acts on a child in an online conversation with an undercover police detective.
Timothy Lee Wendzel was booked in Madison County Jail Wednesday after he reportedly admitted to Rexburg police detectives that he chatted for months with who he believed to be the stepfather of an 11-year-old girl and made plans to meet with them to perform sexual acts on the child.
The stepfather was an undercover Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office detective.
According to a statement of probable cause filed in Madison County Court, the undercover detective was on an adult content social media website in October when Wendzel, who was going by “Tim,” made contact with him.
In their four-month-long string of messages, Wendzel allegedly expressed interest in “young girls.”
When the detective asked him how young was too young for him, Wendzel said, “Eight (years old) or lower.”
The undercover detective told Wendzel he had an 11-year-old stepdaughter, sent a picture and made arrangements with him to meet at a hotel in Idaho Falls on Feb.13 where Wendzel allegedly planned to engage in sexual acts with her. Investigators waited there for Wendzel, but he did not show up.
The detective used online investigator tools and DMV databases to identify him through a picture Wendzel sent him.
Law enforcement determined, however, that there was probable cause for his arrest due to the sexual comments he made about the girl through his messages which included descriptions of what he said he would do to her.
He was brought into the Rexburg police station on Wednesday where he initially denied that the messages were about the girl but rather the undercover detective’s girlfriend.
When asked by investigators about his comment that “eight and lower” is too young, he said the message was a typo and he meant to write “eighteen.”
He later admitted to sending the lewd messages regarding the girl and police subsequently arrested him.
The Bonneville County undercover detective was part of an operation spearheaded by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Idaho Falls Police Department and the United States Department of Homeland Security also assisted the task force.
According to a press release, Attorney General Raul Labrador said “I’m so grateful for the work that our talented ICAC team does to protect the most vulnerable in Idaho. My Office will continue to put every available resource into finding and prosecuting the criminals who victimize Idaho’s children.”