Tulsa Police Search For Vigilante Accused Of Luring Pedophiles To Meet
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Police said they are looking for a vigilante who is pretending to be a 14-year-old boy online to try to lure pedophiles to a meet so they can report them to police.
Detectives said even though this vigilante might be trying to help, this behavior not only harms their investigations, it could get the vigilante hurt or killed.
Detectives said the vigilante used the Grindr App and pretended to be a 14-year-old boy.
They said when a man agrees to sexual activity, the citizen sets up a place to meet.
When they meet, he calls police.
"Of course, that is very concerning to us and we want to know that information but we want that information so we can conduct the investigation,” said Lt. Jillian Phippen, Tulsa Police Special Victim’s Unit
Phippen said citizens taking matters into their own hands could jeopardize investigations.
"We may already be in contact with that person and they not know it so that does hinder some of our ongoing investigations.
"We want to be able to hold that individual accountable, but we definitely need to do it on our terms,” said Phippen.
Phippen said they have certain legal guidelines they have to follow to arrest someone for online crimes.
The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office said they “strongly encourage citizens to report criminal activity to law enforcement, for their own safety, the safety of law enforcement and to ensure we can properly investigate and prosecute criminals."
Phippen said it is dangerous for citizens to do their own investigations.
"You never really know who you are meeting on the other side,” said Phippen. “So yes, you may have posed as a young male and you show up to meet this other adult male, and you don't know who they are. A lot of times there is a physical altercation and that is definitely not what we want.”
Detectives hope this serves as a warning to everyone in Tulsa to report suspicious behavior, but don’t take matters into your own hands.