A Penticton man has taken to social media to publically shame men who he believes are trying to solicit sex from underage girls, but police think it’s a bad idea.
Tyler Fritsen has uploaded several videos to Facebook and YouTube and has even named a couple of suspects saying they have made contact with him as he poses as a 14-year-old girl online. Fritsen says he is part of an organization called ‘Creep Catcher’ and everything he does is legal. The group has a number of chapters around the country, including Penticton.
A disclaimer on the website insists that all persons featured are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“I would like to put this out there. I'm not doing this creeper catcher thing for any more than catching creepers,” Fritsen said on Facebook. “Making sure they know that when they talk to a little girl-boy on the internet even if its just to ask them how their day was we are out there and we will find these fucks one at a time. Together we stand divided we fall I've got so many nieces and nephews gotta make sure creeps know we are out there.”
The videos uploaded to his page clearly show the faces and have names associated with the men who had planned to meet him. While Fritsen seems pleased with the work he is doing, RCMP is discouraging him and others from taking matters into their own hands.
RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk from the Southeast District said the activity is dangerous.
"The RCMP does not condone vigilantism and would recommend the public to leave investigations to the police. We're always concerned when people decide to bypass law enforcement and take matters into their own hands, as when that happens there is a risk that investigations can be jeopardized and key evidence can be lost.”
Moskaluk said that engaging in this type of action can put people such as Fritsen at risk, as well as others in the community.
“The RCMP strongly advises individuals to contact their local police service or cybertip.ca to report suspected on-line child exploitation to ensure that they do not place themselves in a potentially dangerous position," Moskaluk added.
According to the Creeper Catcher website, the organization is based in Calgary with locations throughout Alberta, two in Saskatchewan, one in New Brunswick and three in B.C.