He was advertising for sex with a child. Tri-City cops saw the ad instead

A Richland man advertised that he was looking for sex with a minor, and landed himself in jail, say police.

Detectives from a Tri-Cities-based sex crimes task force spotted the ad on social media this summer and replied to it.

The suspect, later identified as Tony M. Birch, carried on a conversation with a detective thinking he was talking to a child, including talking about sex, said Richland police.

When Birch arranged to meet the “child” Tuesday, he found police there instead.

The Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigates people using online services to prey on children.

The task force includes detectives from Richland and Kennewick, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security.

Birch, 37, was booked into the Benton County jail on investigation of attempted child rape and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.