In five months, a group that calls themselves “Prey on Predators” has racked up more than 40 encounters with potential predators from all over Connecticut.
Their videos are going viral after one of a former Wesleyan University dean resulted in an arrest.
The Eyewitness News I-Team followed the group recently as they went to track down another potential predator.
During that trip, a man who went by the name “Chino” became the 41st person to fall for the disguise set up by “Prey on Predators.”
The founder, who goes by the name “Incognito,” calls them “catches.”
“You’re the 41st guy that I’ve caught coming to meet a minor,” Incognito said to “Chino,” who had said he was meeting someone named “Jason,” who was a minor.
Before the group goes out to meet a potential predator, Incognito puts hours into getting them to meet.
After two former educators were featured on his website, one resulting in an arrest, the group’s videos started going viral.
Incognito invited the I-Team to see him in action.
It all starts with a phone. Incognito goes on dating websites and posts a profile using a picture of a person who appears to be underage. He never initiates the conversation.
“After they say ‘Hi,’ I say Hi back and within the first couple of messages, I let him know my age. If they continue the conversation, we’ll move over to texting,” he said.
He’s often juggling several conversations at once. For example, at the time he met with the I-Team, he was corresponding with nine different men.
One of them was “Chino,” who reached out on May 14.
Incognito was using a profile portraying an underage teen named “Jason.”
In “Chino’s” case, three days later on May 17, he was ready to meet.
“We literally only had 30 or 40 messages and he’s already ready to come meet,” Incognito said.
Further confirming “Chino’s” interest, he asked “Jason” for explicit photos. Incognito even tried to give him an out by telling him he wouldn’t send any.
“I dismissed him twice, I told him, ‘whatever, bye, don’t waste my time,’ and he said, ‘oh no, no, I’m just being cautious’,” Incognito told the I-Team.
The meeting was set at a local grocery store around 5 p.m. “Chino” was traveling from Columbia, 50 minutes away.
“He could catch cold feet, but more than likely, he’s going to come,” Incognito said.
After noticing patterns amongst his 41 “catches,” Incognito was right. “Chino” showed up at the store around 5 p.m., and Incognito caught him as he was heading toward the random aisle selected as the meeting spot.
Incognito then took the conversation outside, where he tried to understand what motivates someone to do this.
“Chino” told him that he had a lot of relationship problems lately, and called this a bad judgment call.
He went on to say he was the victim of a sexual assault when he was younger.
“No matter what’s going on in your life, no matter how horrible things are, there’s no reason to come meet a 14-year-old and you went out of your way to do it,” Incognito said.
Incognito then asked “Chino” how many times he had done this. “Chino” said, “Never with a minor, unless, unless, unless, they misrepresented themselves.”
The conversation lasted several more minutes. Like many do, it ended with Incognito offering contact information for a therapist.
Arrests aren’t made on the spot. In fact, Eyewitness News has only seen two departments take action directly because of Incognito’s videos.
Police don’t encourage this because of the danger involved.
Incognito said he doesn’t get emotional during the confrontations anymore because his ultimate goal is to create some of the strictest punishments in the nation for child predators.
“If I execute correctly, it’s going to have a bigger impact on my end goal and what happens to them with the justice system,” Incognito said.
In Incognito’s videos, “Chino,” like many others, hang around to get interviewed. The I-Team asked Incognito why that happens, and he said he believes the men think they can talk their way out of it, but by the time they realize they can’t, he already has a confession on camera.
Someone claiming to be the individual shown in that video contacted Channel 3 several times. He claimed that he believed from the profile that “Jason” was 18. He also stated that once he was told Jason was 15, he turned to other non-sexual topics and that his intention in the meeting was to “find out why he was on these sites and explain to him why he shouldn’t be.”
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