FRANKLIN, Ind. – A former substitute teacher is accused of trying to pay for sex with teens, and this isn’t the first time he’s been investigated for similar crimes.
“It was a similar case to this where he was getting in contact with juveniles,” said Jeff Merritt, a detective with the Franklin Police Department.
Mihirbhai Patel, a former substitute teacher at Franklin Community High School, was charged in 2015 for promoting prostitution. Those charges were later dropped.
But now, he’s under arrest again for a similar crime. Police say he’s been messaging young teens again, trying to offer them money for sex.
“He was just on social media, trying to talk to people,” Merritt said.
Investigators say he contacted at least three teens at Whiteland High School. The teens said they didn’t know Patel, and that he found them on Instagram.
According to documents, he messaged one teen saying: "Hi. I am looking for fun” and “As we meet you get cash.”
Court records show a detective used one teens Instagram account and engaged in a conversation with Patel. The detective asked Patel "how much $$$ I need cash." Patel responded by saying, "100. Each time we meet you get $$. You make good cash."
The Franklin Police Department was able to set up a take-down and meet up with Patel, which is when he was arrested.
According to court records, police arranged to meet Patel at a movie theater parking lot. Records show when police approached Patel, he attempted to drive off. Officers were able to stop him and put him into custody.
Patel told investigators he, "couldn't believe he had messed up again and was doing this again, referencing prior times committing these types of actions." Police said Patel didn't care about going to jail and wasn't remorseful.
Police say in this case the teens did the right thing and reported the disturbing interactions with the stranger immediately.
“That was the biggest thing, telling the administration of their school, who was able to contact law enforcement and get this guy arrested. So it was a huge praise to the kids for doing the right thing,” Merritt said.
In this case, Patel is being formally charged with promoting prostitution.
Police say the teens never met up with the suspect and -fortunately- didn’t become victims of the crime.