British Columbia

Creep Catcher's hunt for online predators sparks police warning

RCMP in B.C. are warning would-be vigilantes that trying to trap online predators could have dangerous consequences.

Groups members pose as underage girls online with the aim of trapping men trying to hook-up for sex.

Police are warning vigilantes that hunting child predators online with the aim of exposing them on social media could have unintended consequences. (Getty Images)

RCMP in B.C. are warning would-be vigilantes that trying to trap online predators could have dangerous consequences.

The warning comes after at least two videos were posted on Facebook earlier this week by a Penticton man linked with the website Creepcatcher.ca.

Creep Catcher members pose as underage girls online with the aim of trapping men trying to hook-up for sex. After sharing some messages, they arrange to meet, often in public locations like parking lots.

Video recordings of the ensuing confrontations, along with the prior text messages, are then posted online in order to shame the men.

The group has members across Canada, including Nanaimo and Victoria and now Penticton.

One video, that appears to have been shot a few days ago by the Penticton members, identifies a man from Kelowna. 

Later, in text messages posted by the vigilante group, the man appears to beg the group not to post the video, saying it will ruin his life and reputation. .

Real police work threatened

RCMP Corp. Dan Moskaluk says the vigilante efforts are dangerous and discouraged anyone from taking part.

"If we have someone who is confronting someone in this manner in a public place, we don't know what could happen next and it could be something very serious."

He notes the confrontations don't lead to charges and could interfere with real police work.

"It could very well jeopardize fruitful investigations that would be more successful getting dangerous offenders off the streets."

He could not comment on whether the practice was illegal, but suggested anyone who knew about online child predators report them to cybertip.ca

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