'Creep catcher' arrested after confronting wrong man in Lloydminster
22-year-old Chase Karnes facing numerous charges
RCMP in Lloydminster have charged a Saskatchewan man who they say caused a collision while trying to carry out vigilante justice.
Chase Karnes is well known for "creep catching" — or confronting alleged sexual predators on video — in the province, but police say he took his actions a step too far last week.
Lloydminster RCMP were called to a collision in the city on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border at 10 p.m. on July 22.
A man told police he was approached by another man, who he didn't know, outside a restaurant.
Police say the second man was Karnes, who started recording the first man on video and accused him of trying to meet up with a young boy.
The man got in his car and drove away but was followed. When he stopped again, police say Karnes blocked his vehicle and told him to get out.
The other man backed up to get away and ended up hitting a parked car. When he finally left the area, he called police.
According to Sgt. Jack Poitras, the man wasn't even the person Karnes thought he was confronting and was confused by the entire interaction.
"It's very dangerous when you're approaching people that have no idea why you're sticking a camera in your face and accusing them of luring children, especially in this case when it was a case of wrong identity," Poitras said.
"You never know how somebody is going to react. They could lash out at you and you'd have no way to defend yourself."
'Caused havoc for absolutely no reason'
Police said Karnes was identified by a witness to the collision and a video posted to a Facebook page.
The 22-year-old from Marsden, Sask., was charged with common nuisance, criminal harassment and mischief.
The arrest sends a message to other would-be vigilantes in the country, Poitras said, and he hopes to show them that when things go wrong — like in a case of mistaken identity — you can be held liable and charged for your actions.
"It really caused havoc for absolutely no reason. Just be mindful that there are consequences to trying to take matters into your own hands," he said.
Poitras said it's not the first time where a so-called "creep catcher" has approached the wrong guy — it happens quite often, he said. And even if they do confront the person they mean to, Poitras said none of the evidence can be used in court.
"We've had some cases where we were working on gathering evidence against some people and then these kinds of things take place. It renders our investigations basically useless because of them taking the law into their own hands," he explained.
Instead, they ask citizens to provide information to police and let them gather evidence that can be used in court.
Karnes was released on recognizance with court conditions and was set to appear in Lloydminster provincial court on Aug. 28.