Furry from Longboat Key tried to take New Mexico teen to convention, faces child abuse charge, police say

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay-area man allegedly picked up a 14-year-old in New Mexico on his way to a furry convention in Las Vegas and planned to bring him back to Florida, according to a criminal complaint.

A warrant was issued Thursday for the arrest of Conrad Coovert, who has a Longboat Key address, on a charge of child abuse.

A criminal complaint alleges that Coovert picked up the teen March 27 from a music store where he was frequently dropped off by his mother to play music with other children. The teen was supposed to walk home when he was finished, which was less than a mile away from the store.

When he didn’t return home, his mother went to the store and spoke to a manager, who said he saw the teen leave with a man “who appeared to be homeless,” according to the complaint.

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The manager said he saw the teen carry a bag out of the business, according to the complaint.

The property manager said he had video of the teen leaving the store. He also said he had the personal information of Coovert because he had contacted him earlier in the day to report stolen luggage, according to the complaint.

Police called Coovert and asked where he was. Coovert asked the officer if the call was about his stolen luggage, to which the officer said it was, according to the complaint.

Police met Coovert at a coffee shop where he was found with the teen and his luggage, according to the complaint. Coovert said he had asked the teen to carry his luggage so he could leave Albuquerque and return to Florida.

After being read his Miranda rights, Coovert told police he was in New Mexico to meet with his boyfriend, but that he never saw him or talked to him while he was there, according to the complaint.

Coovert said he knew the teen for about 10 days after they communicated on social media, according to the complaint. He tried to tell officers it was only a coincidence that he ran into the teen at the music store.

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The teen said he had known Coovert for two years and that the two of them walked all night and slept in a park, according to the complaint. The teen said Coovert was taking him to a furry convention in Las Vegas and then they were both going to Florida.

The teen said he had blisters on his feet from all of the walking and was cold from sleeping outside with minimal clothing, according to the complaint.

The detective told Coovert he would be taking his phone to download evidence. Coovert said he also had a tablet. The detective searched Coovert’s bags for the tablet and didn’t find it, but found sexual bondage items and two suitcases were full of furry costumes, according to the complaint.

Coovert repeatedly told the detectives he wasn’t a child predator, and that he had previously falsely been accused of a sex crime with a minor in Georgia, but that the charges were dropped, according to the complaint.

As of Friday afternoon, Coovert had not been booked into jail.

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