He catches potential child predators in the act of meeting someone they think is underage.
The videos have gone viral and have directly led to multiple arrests, but only one of them has been made by his hometown police department, despite, many of the meetings happening there.
By now, POP Squad videos may be familiar with police and Channel 3 viewers. A typical video shows the potential predator waiting for a person who they think is underage, only to be met by POP Squad founder “Incognito.”
Incognito got his initial inspiration from the show ‘To Catch a Predator,’ and like the show, many times, a confession is right there on camera.
Other videos have the chatlogs, attached. Those are the often-graphic conversations leading up to the meet.
When the video is posted, the police sometimes come calling, but only after a complaint is made.
POP Squad turns all information over to police and arrests like registered sex offender Keith Dubin, school yearbook photographer Cole Sutton and former Wesleyan Dean Scott Backer have been well-publicized.
They’re only a handful of the 62 local meets “Incognito” made since he started in December.
He’s wondering why the arrest rate is lower.
“It should be at least 50 percent at the minimum, but it’s not even that,” Incognito said.
Incognito is confused because some departments, like Southington, say because the complaint essentially comes gift wrapped with a confession, arrests like Dubin’s can be moved on quickly.
When asked if it makes their job easier, Southington Police Lt. Steve Elliott said “In some cases it does, sure. Video is very difficult to dispute.”
But, incognito points to others, like one man who is still free. He allegedly came from Thomaston to meet a boy he thought was 14.
Even though a video has been on the site since January, police in Bristol, where the meeting took place, and Thomaston, have not made an arrest.
“It really doesn’t make sense at the end of the day,” Incognito said.
Channel 3 wanted to hear from Bristol police for this story, but no one has returned calls.
Bristol’s Mayor Ken Cockayne said under the advisement of police, he had no comment. That led to Incognito posting a message on the POP Squad Facebook page asking if his fans “would vote for someone who ‘was against’ the organization.”
Hundreds of comments followed, including one from the mayor. Incognito says a conversation led to a scheduled face-to-face meeting with the mayor and police, but the POP Squad founder says the meeting was later postponed, according to the mayor, by police chief Gould. It leaves him feeling like he’s been rejected.
“If I was in their position and 62 guys came to my town, or my city, I’d have a problem with it and I wouldn’t have a problem with the person exposing them,” Incognito said.
Southington says investigating these videos is not a simple as many would like it to be.
“When he brings information forward, we look at it, evaluate it like any complaint that comes from the public,” Elliott said.
Other departments said because Incognito is not an officer, departments need to be extra careful when working these cases to not only avoid the appearance of collusion, but also to publicly deter anyone from following in Incognito’s footsteps.
“There’s always a concern when someone from the public goes out and does something like this. There’s a concern for their safety because they’re not acting like a police officer would when a police officer does a sting type operation,” Elliott said.
Now, Incognito says it’s not like Bristol isn’t doing anything at all. Several of his cases are being investigated by Bristol police, but those investigations have taken months, and only one has ended in an arrest.
He’d like to see them work faster and have that meeting with the mayor.
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