Police warn against 'Creep Catchers' sting attempts

Police in British Columbia are growing frustrated with online vigilantes who are bent on catching men attempting to lure young girls into sexual encounters.

See Full Article

Law enforcement authorities say these would-be heroes are playing a dangerous game and potentially compromising police work.

Predator-baiting schemes have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many vigilantes drawing inspiration from the reality TV show "To Catch a Predator" or the online movement known as “Creep Catchers.”

One would-be vigilante in Nanaimo, B.C. recently posted a video of a confrontation he had with a man he said was trying to arrange an encounter with a 13-year-old girl.

The man set up an amateur sting operation to catch the alleged predator in which he posed as a young girl in an online chatroom and then arranged a meeting at a local mall.

The video shows the vigilante confronting the man and then revealing his real identity.

"You’re here to pick up a 13-year-old girl? You're here to pick up Abby, right?" the vigilante asks.

“Why don't you tell me some of the things you were going to do to me? I'm Abby. You've been talking to the whole time, bud… What have you got to say for yourself?"

When the man tries to respond he’s sorry, the vigilante responds: "Sorry for what? You know you're going to jail, right?”

As the man tries to walk away, the vigilante yells out, “This guy's trying to meet 13-year-old girls on the Internet right now! This guy's trying to pick up 13-year-olds on the Internet!”

Nanaimo RCMP told CTV News they are conducting an investigation but they say the vigilante never filed a formal report to police. CTV News tried to reach out to the man who uploaded the video, but he did not return requests for comment.

Police say they are not happy the anonymous videographer tried to take the law into his own hands, saying it is simply dangerous.

"It's not a good idea to have people engaging in this sort of behaviour on their own. There's great risks to it, whether the person you're going to meet is an armed or dangerous person we don't know,” Cpl. Jon Stuart of the Nanaimo RCMP youth unit told CTV Vancouver.

Besides being dangerous, police say these confrontations could seriously hinder their own investigations.

"All jurisdictions across the United States and Canada have trained officers that are on the internet and trying to interact with these people and trying to find out who they are,” says Cpl. Stuart.

"They may either backlog an investigation or stop an investigation altogether unknowingly because the person would change their behaviour or do something different."

Defence lawyer Paul Pearson warns attempts at public shaming could also lead to legal trouble for the vigilantes.

“You might get sued if in fact you've got the wrong person, or you're making an allegation which is not actually true,” he says.

He warns that if a court found that the vigilante had committed slander or libel or wrongfully defamed someone’s character without clear evidence, that could result in damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

With a report from CTV’s Vancouver’s Scott Cunningham and Penny Daflos



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Price of gas reaches 151.9 cents per litre at some stations in Vancouver

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Temporary relief drivers saw earlier in the pandemic may be a thing of the past as gas prices continue to climb in Metro Vancouver. On Monday morning, some stations were charging 151.9 cents per litre at pumps in the city. Source
  • Ethics committee summons Kielburger brothers to testify after they duck invitation

    Canada News CBC News
    The House of Commons ethics committee unanimously passed a motion today to compel the men behind WE Charity to appear before MPs to explain their role in the botched summer student grants program and answer questions about allegations of donor fraud. Source
  • Starting today, members of Parliament can cast votes online

    Canada News CBC News
    Members of Parliament will be able to start casting votes online for motions and legislation with a new voting app being introduced in the House of Commons today. Voting by app is expected significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to record yays, nays and abstentions from MPs participating virtually in parliamentary proceedings, said senior officials from House of Commons administration who shared details of the new voting process this morning. Source
  • Wrongful death suit filed on behalf of Daniel Prude's kids

    World News CTV News
    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Attorneys for the five children of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after being restrained by police during a mental health episode, announced a federal lawsuit Monday against the city of Rochester, alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations. Source
  • Queen, Prince Philip didn't make skin colour comment about Meghan's baby: Oprah

    World News CTV News
    MONTECITO, CALIF. -- Oprah Winfrey has revealed that while Prince Harry would not say who in the Royal Family made comments about his son's skin colour, he did share who hadn't. Appearing Monday on "CBS This Morning," Winfrey said Harry told her neither his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, nor his grandfather, Prince Philip, were part of conversations about Archie's skin tone. Source
  • U.S. Supreme Court rejects final outstanding election appeal from Trump

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday disposed of the last of three cases brought to the justices by former President Donald Trump challenging his election loss, bringing a muted end to his futile quest in the courts to hold onto power. Source
  • Quebec records fewest COVID-19 infections in months with 579 new cases

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec announced Monday that 579 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the lowest number in months for the province. This brings the overall total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 293,210. Source
  • How this business is helping Canadians cure their COVID rage, one swing at a time

    Canada News CBC News
    On a quiet crescent in suburban Ottawa, Grace Roswell is seeing red. Crowbar in hand, Grace is celebrating her 12th birthday inside the crimson-lined Vengeance Van, a rage room on wheels that shatters neighbourhood calm with explosions of glass and booming bass beats. Source
  • New COVID-19 cases in Ontario spike above 1,600 as stay-at-home order lifts in Toronto, Peel Region

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- COVID-19 cases in Ontario have spiked to levels unseen since early February as a stay-at-home order that has been in effect for weeks lifts in Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay. The province said Monday that it recorded 1,631 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours. Source
  • New COVID-19 cases in Ontario spike above 1,600, officials attribute increase to data issue

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- COVID-19 infections in Ontario have spiked to levels unseen since early February but the province says Monday’s case count is higher than expected due to a “data catch-up process” related to its case and contact management system. Source