Cops told him to knock off ‘Catch a Predator’-style videos. He didn’t listen
TOMS RIVER — A video vigilante focused on rooting out child predators in New Jersey was back at it Sunday, when he used Facebook to live-stream an in-person encounter with another man he says showed up to meet a teen girl.
“Once again they said try not to do it again. I’m just very lucky that I didn’t interfere with an investigation,” Rashawn Bass said in one of two videos posted Sunday, of his interaction with police.
Township officers along with the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office have stressed that residents should leave such work to law enforcement. On Monday, the prosecutor's office confirmed it was investigating the incident, without further comment.
The Sunday encounter came about a week after Bass' first in-person meeting at the same Toms River restaurant ultimately ended with criminal charges against Phil Stone of Lacey Township. Bass met him after pretending to be a 14-year-old girl while chatting with Stone on a social media app, according a video Bass made at the time.
In a video showing this weekend's incident, Bass narrated his drive to a Five Guys burger restaurant, saying "there's a very real chance that I may get hurt."
Bass took video as he approached of a man standing on a sidewalk, where the man said he was waiting for a 23-year-old female friend.
Bass can be heard confronting the man about chatting with 14-year-old "Alexi," who Bass said he been him all along, while also repeating he was "not a cop, not here to hurt you."
The man said he was "so scared" and the two had an exchange for about three-minutes on video, before two police officers walked up from a nearby restaurant and asked if they could help with anything.
“Just got home from the PD, they have my cell phone still and I won't be getting it back til at least tomorrow," Bass said later Sunday night in a Facebook post.
While repeating the warnings he's received from law enforcement about not carrying out another civilian operation involving an accused predator, Bass also said during his live-stream that he would like to have "back up" from another person or two in any future encounter.
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