Nicholas Wessel, 37, of Richmond, is accused of kidnapping two teenage girls in Modesto and taking them to a casino hotel in Nevada, where he allegedly
Nicholas Wessel, 37, of Richmond, is accused of kidnapping two teenage girls in Modesto and taking them to a casino hotel in Nevada, where he allegedly sexually assaulted one of the girls, according to police. (Sparks, Nev., Police)

SPARKS -- A Richmond man has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping two Modesto teenagers and taking them across the state line to a casino hotel in Nevada, where he is accused of sexually assaulting one of the girls, police said.

Nicholas Wessel, 37, was arrested at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks on Tuesday on suspicion of two counts of kidnapping, sexual assault, and production and possession of child pornography, according to authorities.

The two girls -- ages 14 and 15 -- were reported as runaways to Modesto police on Sunday. By Tuesday, police discovered one of them had interacted with Wessel on Facebook and was still logging in to her account. Investigators then contacted the social media giant to obtain an IP address, which led them to Nugget, said Sgt. Ivan Valencia of Modesto police. Within hours, Sparks police had Wessel and the teenagers in custody.

The girls later told investigators Wessel convinced them to accompany him to Nevada, where he got a hotel room. Inside the room, Wessel allegedly sexually assaulted the 14-year-old and took pictures of her, the girls told police. Investigators found images of the girl and other children on Wessel's camera, according to police.

The girls were taken to a Nevada juvenile hall, and Wessel was booked at Washoe County Jail.

"It's good to remind parents of the dangers of the Internet and be mindful of what their children are doing," Valencia said. "Predators are out there."

David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.



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