'Operation Halloween' aims to protect children from sex offenders

SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, Queens (WABC) -- New York parole officers went knocking on doors to making sure registered sex offenders weren't getting too close to kids on Halloween.

It'll be a trick-or-treat at Rikers for one man, a registered sex offender from the Rockaways, caught red handed violating the terms of his release on Halloween night. State parole officers locked him back up.

"I just feel like I make a difference. I feel like I keep people safe when I do this," the officer said.

As kids dressed up and hit the streets, so did parole officers, two officers who asked Eyewitness News not to reveal their first names, as they gave Eyewitness News a firsthand look at "Operation Halloween".

Across the state, police officers are checking in on some 3,000 sex offenders to make sure they are following the rules. And on Halloween, those rules become even stricter.

That's because Halloween is such a target rich environment for a child molester.

"That's what I tell people on Halloween, this is my costume," an officer said.

The state requires all sex offenders stay indoors starting when they get home from work until 6 a.m.

They can't decorate for Halloween or pass out candy, so the man who lives at one house even put up a sign discouraging kids from knocking.

After all, these parolees can't open the door for anyone, except their parole officers.

One man has been living there for six years, after 37 in prison for kidnapping and killing a 16-year-old. On Halloween he was clean, but another guy wasn't.

"You can't go to the store? Who told you to go to the store? I have been here waiting all day for y 'all. That's not how this works," the officer said.

The officers rolled up on him outside, on the street.

And the man in the house had children's toys in his bedroom, including a little girl's stuffed animal. He's the guy who went back to Rikers.

As a result of "Operation Halloween," 10 people were taken into custody in the five boroughs and on Long Island.
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