PETERSBURG, VA - An undercover sting leads to the arrest of a Petersburg sheriff's deputy.
Corporal Vernard Bailey is facing several charges -- including two counts of attempted rape and sexual battery against minors.
Police say it started when a concerned citizen reached out to investigators -- informing officers that Bailey was attempting to have sex with an 11-year-old and an 14-year-old.
Police launched an undercover investigation.
"He was in conversations with an adult for the purpose of obtaining children for sexual purposes. I do want to make it clear that the operation did not involve using underage children," said Petersburg Commonwealth's Attorney, Cassandra Conover.
Bailey has been employed with the Petersburg Sheriff's Office for nearly three decades -- supervising inmates at the Petersburg Jail Annex.
"He's a veteran. He's been here for over 26 years and it's certainly nothing anybody would have expected, " said Petersburg Sheriff, Vanessa Crawford.
Crawford says she's disappointed and shocked and that Bailey was a professional while on the clock.
"Good employee -- he'd always be here when he was supposed to be here and he did what he was supposed to do," said Crawford.
Crawford fired Bailey after getting word from police that he admitted to the crimes.
No one answered the door at Bailey's home in the Matoaca district of Chesterfield County on Wednesday afternoon.
Some of his neighbors are floored by the arrest.
"It concerns me. I have an 11-year-old daughter who likes to walk the streets with her friend. It being that close to home, it's alarming," said Pam Wade.
Bailey was taken into Tuesday night. He's being held at an undisclosed jail outside of the city.
Bailey appeared in court Wednesday morning by video for an arraignment. According to court documents he told the judge that he wanted to hire his own attorney.
Bailey is scheduled for a bond hearing later this month.
Police say a search of Bailey's home revealed evidence supporting the charges against him. Investigators also removed more than 55 various caliber firearms from his house.