LARGO, Fla. — A Florida man named Austin Powers is accused of traveling to meet a 14-year-old girl and molesting her, authorities said.
Austin Lawrence Powers, 26, of St. Petersburg, was arrested Wednesday and charged with traveling to meet a minor and lewd and lascivious molestation, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office online booking records. Powers is a registered sex offender with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
According to the Largo Police Department, officers responded to a call for service in June involving a 14-year-old runaway. Officers learned the teenager ran away after her parents discovered she was secretly talking to an adult male via Snapchat, WTVT reported.
According to police and online Pinellas County Court records, Powers allegedly picked up the girl on at least one occasion in late May and took her to his residence. Officials said that several days later, Powers allegedly picked up the girl again, posing as the father of one of the girl’s friends, and met the victim’s mother, WFLA-TV reported.
Police said that Powers allegedly told the teen’s mother that he was taking the girl to his residence to play with his daughter.
According to Largo police, Powers had been previously arrested in 2016 by the Plant City Police Department in neighboring Hillsborough County after a similar incident.
According to the FDLE, Powers was convicted in 2017 of two counts of traveling to meet with a minor to commit an unlawful sexual offense and two counts of lewd or lascivious battery with a victim between the ages of 12 and 15.
Powers was arrested after Largo police used “extensive investigative resources” to identify him, officials said.
He remains in the Pinellas County Jail, with bail set at $350,000, online records show.
Police said an investigation was ongoing.