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Accused Playstation predator Tony McLeod held without bond

5:37 PM, Jun 12, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, FL -- The 14-year-old boy at the center of a cross-country kidnapping was expected to be on his way back to California on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the man accused of flying him to Tampa after meeting the boy playing online video games made his first appearance in front of a judge Wednesday morning.

Tony McLeod emerged from a jail cell just long enough for a Hillsborough County judge to tell him that's where he belongs.

No bond for the 36-year-old Tampa man, who flew to California Monday, picked-up a 14-year-old boy he'd met in an online Playstation game.

Officials say McLeod met the teen in California and then flew the boy back to Tampa with him. Police were waiting for the pair as they got off the plane Tuesday morning.

"We were at a point where we were going to have to release him if we did not conduct our own investigation," said Tampa police spokesperson Andrea Davis.

Release him?

Davis say the Tampa Police Department was still miffed at their colleagues in Escondido, California, who as of earlier in the day Wednesday, still had not filed formal charges against McLeod.

So Tampa did.

On Tuesday, they raided his Ybor City apartment and charged McLeod with kidnapping as well as sending sexual images and videos of himself police had retrieved from the boy's phone.

The sexually explicit images were sent to them by California authorities Tuesday night.

"Once we received that from the Escondido police department, we were able to put the charges on the suspect," said Davis.

No one answered the door at McLeod's apartment, but people who live and work nearby say they're disgusted.

Anna Miller, who has a 14-year-old son of her own, said "Jail wouldn't be good enough," if it had been her son. "I'm sure when I go home today I'll have another talk with my 14-year-old," she said.

Neighbors describe McLeod as a wanna-be cop. One said McLeod claimed he recently graduated from the police academy, but the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says it has no record of that.

10 News starting looking at McLeod's background and over and over again on his records, another name kept appearing: a man by the name of Perry Zacker.

Zacker, it turns out, is also a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy.

Both names appear together on multiple property records, suggesting the two men are at least business associates.

The sheriff's office says it's waiting for Tampa PD to wrap up its investigation before asking its own questions about whether Zacker was in a position to know anything about this.

But so far, Tampa investigators don't think so.

"There's no evidence that anyone else has committed any type of crime or had any knowledge of this," said Davis.

If nothing else, Tampa police say this is a good opportunity for parents to remember to warn their kids about online predators and pay close attention to who they're calling texting or chatting or even playing games with online.

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