Cops: Someone’s playing ‘Catch a Predator’ and should knock it off
A video posted online that appears to show a civilian bait and expose an adult who thought he was meeting a teen girl for sex is being investigated by law enforcement, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
The video clip, posted to Youtube Sunday, shows a man described as in his 30s, seemingly attempting to solicit a 14-year-old for sexual relations — when in reality it was the video's host, having posed in online chats as a teen, according to Billhimer.
The prosecutor said the video was created by a private individual with no "law enforcement involvement."
In the more than 8-minute video, screen shots of social media chats are shown, narrated by the video's host. The host eventually meets a man — said to be the man he baited — at a local burger restaurant.
As the man creating the video sits down at the table, he tells the other man his is not a police officer, but is doing a "psychology experiment," before engaging him in conversation.
In their conversation, the other man says he's "not a sicko" and that he's "supposed to be meeting up with a girl." He acknowledges the girl would have been "underage" but says he would have only engaged in consensual activity.
"Is this fun for you? I don't understand," the man says. He goes on to say his mother died recently and that he's been on a "downward spiral" ever since.
"I've done nothing but eat, do drugs and be a philanderer," he says.
New Jersey 101.5 is declining to link to the video or provide identifying information about the people in it at this time, because of the ongoing investigation. As of Monday evening, the video had been viewed more than 41,000 times.
“Investigations into alleged criminal activity must be conducted by trained law enforcement officials — with the assistance of members of the public when and where appropriate," Billhimer said.
"Private citizens who take it upon themselves to investigate what they believe to be criminal conduct may compromise the potential investigation. They can also find themselves in a very dangerous situation,"
Billhimer also added, "Please leave criminal investigations to the professionals."
The same person has posted more than a dozen videos in the past three months, all dealing with accused child predators.
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