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

  • Fugitive lawyer says he's fled the U.S. using fake passport

    World News CTV News
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A fugitive Kentucky lawyer at the centre of a nearly $600 million Social Security fraud case has fled the country using a fake passport and has gotten help from someone overseas with a job to help support himself. Source
  • Pride flag found burned in Taber, Alta.

    Canada News CBC News
    For the second time in as many weeks, a Pride flag flying in Taber, Alta., has been destroyed by vandals. Sometime on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone burned the flag being flown in Confederation Park, near the town hall. Source
  • 'Your actual place in society': Minority Montrealers stung by racial divide at Fête nationale parade

    Canada News CBC News
    When Félix Brouillet saw the first float in Saturday's Fête nationale parade in Montreal, he thought he was looking at a scene out of a 1960s movie about ancient Rome. A white woman in a flowing blue dress stood on the float, which was pushed down St. Source
  • Pride group in Taber, Alta. says their flag was burned

    Canada News CTV News
    TABER, Alta. -- Organizers of a southern Alberta town's first Pride event say they'll raise a third rainbow flag after the first was stolen and the one they replaced it with was burned. Jillian Demontigny of the Taber Equality Alliance says her group was notified Sunday that a police officer noticed damage to the flag and scorch marks up the flagpole while driving past Confederation Park. Source
  • Turkish police fire tear gas on banned LGBT Pride March [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ISTANBUL — As Pride Parade activities across North America have been met by protesters arguing about inclusiveness, other places around the world struggle for the right to even hold marches. Turkish police stopped activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights from gathering in large numbers for an LGBT pride event in Istanbul on Sunday, but smaller groups made impromptu press statements defying a ban imposed by the governor. Source
  • 'I couldn't let that little girl die'; Teen dangling from Six Flags' 'Sky Ride' falls into arms of crowd [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. — A teenager fell about 25 feet (about 8 metres) from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground. Source
  • 'We saw bodies everywhere'; Oil tanker explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153 people [Photos] [Video

    World News Toronto Sun
    BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan — An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 153 people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, a hospital official said as the death toll continued to rise. Source
  • Thank you note from Trump is 'memorabilia' for N.L. political watcher

    Canada News CTV News
    BAULINE, N.L. -- In a world of political cynicism and voter apathy, Doug Kavanagh is the ultimate engaged citizen. And now his growing collection of correspondence with leaders and news editors across Canada and the world has another addition: a thank-you note from U.S. Source
  • Black Lives Matter NYC 'inspired' by Toronto chapter's calls for removal of uniformed police

    World News CBC News
    Inspired by Black Lives Matter Toronto's demonstration at the Toronto Pride Parade last year, members of the activist group in New York City are now calling on the removal of uniformed police officers from their city's parade. Source
  • Police operation unfolds in Moncton, N.B. following report of gunshots

    Canada News CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- Police in New Brunswick have arrested two people in connection with a shooting incident in downtown Moncton on Sunday. Sgt. Andre Pepin of the Codiac RCMP said a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman are in custody following an hours-long police operation. Source