A Luzerne County man has been charged with trying to buy a 15 year-old girl in Brookville.
Brookville police have made 12 arrests under the department’s predator sting operation, but, for the first time, police arrested a person, identified as David M. Bereznak, 45, who wanted to buy a young girl.
“He was going to purchase a human being for $600,” said Brookville Police Chief Vince Markle. “I spent more than that on my dog. He drove three and one-half hours to buy a person.”
A criminal complaint says that at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, Brookville police officer Andrew Turnbull received a message on a site used by the police in their sting operation. Turnbull responded with a prewritten message describing the rates and location of a supposed escort and massage service.
The person who responded was later identified as Bereznak, who said he was 150 miles from Brookville. Bereznak asked to see who he would be meeting on his date.
The criminal complaint says Bereznak responded on Saturday and said he would like to set up a meeting. Bereznak said he would make the trip “if he knew it was going to be worth his time.”
Bereznak added that he “might be able to assist in expanding the services so people wouldn’t have to drive as far,” the complaint said.
Turnbull said he recognized this to be indicative of human trafficking, and he responded that he was interested.
Bereznak wanted to see what Turnbull had to offer, and Turnbull said he sent three photos, according to the complaint. Turnbull said he included pictures of females acquired from open source social media who were known to law enforcement.
Bereznak then asked Turnbull what the “attitudes” were of each person, and Turnbull provided an “attitude” for each of the fake females. The complaint says Bereznak then inquired what the price would be for all three females, and Turnbull provided a price.
The complaint says Bereznak then asked if he could take one girl with him when he left. Turnbull responded and gave him a price of $300 for his “problem child,” the complaint said.
The complaint says Turnbull set up the meeting at the Super 8 motel in the rear parking lot. An orange Jeep pulled into the meeting place Saturday, and Markle and officer Brittany Gray conducted a high-risk style stop on Bereznak.
Bereznak was taken into custody and his cell phone seized as evidence, police said. He was taken to the Jefferson County jail until his arraignment.
“I was concerned enough to have the state police investigate his residence,” Markle said. “They seized all of his computers so it is still an active investigation. Additional charges may be filed.”
“We have an outstanding team. They work hard at this,” Markle said.