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

  • 'Crisis' in energy sector not reflected in throne speech, Kenney says

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney had harsh words for the federal government's throne speech, saying the Liberal energy agenda will "strangle investment and jeopardize resource jobs [in Alberta]." "Alberta is disappointed that instead of listening to Canada's provinces, the federal government doubled down on policies that will kill jobs, make Canada poorer and weaken national unity," Kenney said in a statement. Source
  • Police officer shot in Louisville, Ky., as protests over Breonna Taylor's death continue

    World News CBC News
    Police in Louisville, Ky., say an officer has been shot. It's not clear if the officer was shot during the protests over a grand jury's decision to bring no charges against police for the killing of Breonna Taylor during a drug raid gone wrong. Source
  • 2 police officers shot in Louisville, Ky., as protests over Breonna Taylor's death continue

    World News CBC News
    Police in Louisville, Ky., say an officer has been shot. It's not clear if the officer was shot during the protests over a grand jury's decision to bring no charges against police for the killing of Breonna Taylor during a drug raid gone wrong. Source
  • Missing Alberta couple found dead in Jasper National Park after falling from steep bank, RCMP say

    Canada News CBC News
    The search for an Alberta couple, missing since Friday, has ended in tragedy. The bodies of Matthew Kozak, 32, and Zabrina Ferrier, 25, were recovered Wednesday morning in the Verdant Pass area of Jasper National Park. "It is believed the couple were hiking and succumbed to their injuries after falling from a steep bank in the area," Killam RCMP wrote in a news release. Source
  • Black attorney general chokes up during Taylor announcement

    World News CTV News
    FRANKFORT, KY. -- Kentucky's Black attorney general choked up Wednesday when explaining why a grand jury didn't seek criminal charges against police officers for Breonna Taylor's death -- but his sympathetic words fell on many deaf ears. Source
  • Dispatcher error led police to release man who went on to commit 'merciless and savage' sex assault

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- On an early spring day in 2015, just after noon, Caleb Heaton brutally attacked an East Vancouver woman inside her own home. An agreed-upon record of the criminal case between Crown and defence reveals how the 25-year-old bound, gagged, and raped his victim, his behaviour so vicious, the judge referred to Heaton’s crime as “merciless and savage. Source
  • Death threats aimed at Dr. Bonnie Henry mirror contempt faced by female leaders, experts say

    Canada News CBC News
    The revelation that B.C.'s provincial health officer has received death threats comes as no surprise to some women leaders who say this kind of abuse is a widespread problem. Dr. Bonnie Henry has been praised for her "kind, calm and safe" approach to managing B.C. Source
  • Trump won't commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential election. "We're going to have to see what happens," Trump said at a news conference, responding to a question about whether he'd commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Source
  • System outage at Public Health Ontario may result in delayed COVID-19 test results

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Public Health Ontario (PHO) said that some COVID-19 test results may be delayed due to a system “outage” that is preventing staff from accessing the information. In a notice posted on their website on Wednesday night, the health agency apologized for the inconvenience. Source
  • eBay workers who sent spiders to couple to plead guilty

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- Four former eBay Inc. employees have agreed to plead guilty to their roles in a campaign of intimidation that included sending live spiders and cockroaches to the home of a Massachusetts couple who ran an online newsletter critical of the auction site, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Source