SIOUX FALLS, S.D.(Dakota News Now) – If the name Siouxland Creep Catchers isn’t self-explaining enough, it’s a group in Sioux City that poses as underaged boys and girls online in an effort to “catch” predators.
When they meet up with the adults that contact them looking for sex, members of the group go as far as setting up a meeting place and time.
Then, they confront that individual in person while filming for Facebook.
The group started posting these videos at the beginning of January.
Since then they’ve exposed 17 men and their page has gained nearly 15,000 likes.
“I just, I don’t know, nobody was really doing anything so that’s why I did it and in one week we blew up.”
Nolan Watchorn started Siouxland Creep Catchers in early January.
He was able to get his friends on board so they could have a set driver, cameraman and “decoys” who pose as underaged kids.
Watchorn said they always let the adult initiate contact first, “When they message we say we’re underage and usually a lot of people will be like ‘Oh no, of course not.’ but there are those people that will continue on with it and that’s the people we try and meet up with and expose.”
So far, the encounters have been eye-opening for everyone.
“It’s always very scary,” says Watchorn.
“When you get there and you see that he’s actually there and he’s already bought the food for the little kid that he was supposed to meet up with it’s crazy and then, then we go in for the confrontation.”
“Most of the time they confess on camera.”
Wading in dangerous territory, the group has already had a close call claiming one man pulled a gun on them.
“I get very worried especially for our decoys meeting up with these people and talking to them. For one, we always have an eye on our decoys and for two we do have a conceal and carry permit in the state of Iowa.”
In opposition, some people have commented saying this is a job that should be left up to the police.
Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens feels the same way.
“It’s fine that they’re bringing awareness to this but I think the way that they’re doing it is the wrong way. We just want to make sure that things are done safely and things are done the right way. That means if you find these people that are looking to solicit others, report that to local law enforcement and let them do the job.”
Officer Clemens says what they’re doing isn’t necessarily illegal, but it can be very dangerous.
Nolan says they turn over the messages and video to authorities after every encounter.
So far, none have led to any arrests.
They have confronted men outside of Sioux City including at least one man in Sioux Falls.