FDLE arrests defense contractor for soliciting child for sex

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2024
VALRICO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) today arrested James Robert Bechtold, 33, of Valrico, for soliciting a minor online for sexual activity. Bechtold is an information technology security specialist defense contractor. The Colorado State Police and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations assisted in the investigation.
FDLE’s investigation began on February 4 when the Colorado State Police notified agents about an unknown individual in Florida who was coordinating and producing child sexual abuse material. Investigators say Bechtold used messaging apps to communicate with victims.
Through the investigative process agents identified Bechtold as the suspect and contacted the Air Force Office of Special Investigations because Bechtold worked as a contractor at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
Today FDLE’s Special Operations South Team served a search warrant on Bechtold’s residence and placed him under arrest.
FDLE’s Tallahassee and Tampa Cyber Units are investigating the case, which remains active.
Bechtold was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail. The case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
Please visit the FDLE website to review tips for keeping your children safe online at
For Further Information Contact:
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001

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FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.