(ABC News) — A Snap Chat Supersleuth — a college student who went on the social media app — disguised himself with filters, and caught a predator who was also a police officer.
“I found out that with the gender filter made me a very pretty girl, so I decided to take advantage of it and try to make a tinder account to capture pedophiles.”
Ethan, who doesn’t want his last name shared for fear of retaliation, says he created the account as a 19-year-old female named Esther, meeting Tinder’s 18-year-old minimum age requirement.
He says he eventually matched with a 40-year-old man. And moved their conversation to the messaging app KIK, where he made his female persona appear even younger.
“He asked me to tell him about myself. So, I told him, my name is Ester, as you know. And I’m 16 and I like comic book movies and Star Wars, and I wanna be an author someday.”
According to police that man– San Mateo Police Officer Robert Davies…These messages allegedly showing Davies saying Esther’s age “might be an issue” …But Ethan says after that– Davies’ exchanges grew increasingly explicit.
“…Then he talked about — started talking about all the things he wanted me to do to him, and what he wanted to do to me. “
That’s when the 20-year-old says he alerted Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers of the exchanges.
“I put my phone on airplane mode, screenshotted everything, and that’s when I alerted the authorities.”
A criminal investigation launched two days later eventually leading to Davie’s arrest – charged with contacting a minor to commit a felony.
The Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney telling ABC news “we will work hard to hold this defendant accountable…”…. adding “we do not recommend members of the community attempt to investigate these matters on their own. There are officers who are well-trained to investigate these crimes.”
As for Ethan… he says “Esther” will no longer be swiping right.
“After I talked to the police about it, I deleted the account.”
Davies is currently out on paid administrative leave.
The San Mateo Police Chief saying “this alleged conduct, if true, is in no way a reflection of all that we stand for as a department and is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole.”
(This story was originally published on June 14, 2019)