ELKINS, W.Va. – According to a Facebook post from the Office of the Sheriff of Randolph County, on the evening of June 2, 911 received a call from a person at Walmart who said a 15-year-old boy received an Instagram message from a man who was offering oral sex.
Deputy Pingley of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call. After arriving at the scene, the juvenile told law enforcement that during the Elkins Fireworks show, a stranger named Garrett Zirkle approached him, asked him if he attended high school and a if he can be friends with him on Instagram. The juvenile added him on Instagram, and shortly after Zirkle left, the juvenile received a message offering him oral sex. He then notified an adult and contacted 911.
After the statement form was filled out, police instructed the juvenile to respond to the message by stating he was 15-years-old. Zirkle responded with, “u being 15 ant no issue cause I’m 17.” Zirkle was actually 19. A meetup at Riverbend Park was then coordinated, where Zirkle believed he would give oral sex to the juvenile and said that he would arrive on a bicycle.
Elkins City Officers, alongside Deputy Pingley, arranged a sting operation and watched out for a male on a bicycle at Riverbend Park at the arranged time. After a male on a bicycle arrived on the scene, he was surrounded by officers and identified as Garrett Zirkle.
Zirkle was then arrested for Solicitation of a Minor and Traveling to Engage the Minor in Prohibited Sexual Activity. He was transported to Elkins PD and later transported to Tygart Valley Regional Jail.