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Undercover 'Bots' Help In Sheriff's Prostitution Sting

(WBBM Newsradio) -- Technology has opened a new door for the Cook County Sheriff's Office, and Sheriff Tom Dart says it's not clear yet what they'll do with it.

It's software that can respond by text to people who are looking on-line to pay for sex.

They are "bots" named Ariel, Brook and Cari, effectively posing as prostitutes.

"This blew me away," Dart says of the results of a recent sting using the bots.

In a roughly 30-day period that just wrapped up, 2,500 people engaged with the bots. Around 65 percent of them stayed with the text exchange until they agreed on a price.

Then, the would-be sex buyers got a message -- not a ticket, but sort of a "scared straight" message meant to deter any future endeavors.

Now, the question is: Will this be used to arrest anyone?

"Because this is so new, how we're going to proceed from here we don't know yet," Dart says.

Separately, more than 60 people were arrested in Cook County, as part of a nationwide sex trafficking sting.

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