GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Grand Rapids Police Department says seven men are now facing a felony charge of accosting a minor for immoral purposes after a private citizen took it upon himself to track down potential predators and uploaded some of his encounters to YouTube.
Police say a 23-year-old man told them in February that he posed as a 15-year-old girl online and made contact with several men who had placed advertisements on Craigslist. The man documented the online interactions with the suspects, who, police say, showed up at an arranged meeting with the man thinking they were meeting a 15-year-old girl.
Over the past three months, a YouTuber with the user name "Anxiety War" uploaded several videos in which he communicated and met with alleged sex predators in West Michigan.
The man turned over to police the evidence he'd obtained, and police then interviewed the seven suspects involved. These men were subsequently arrested and charged with a felony:
- Jered Andrus, 37
- Dan Barnes, 68
- Jacob Cassiday, 24
- Brett Chaffin, 24
- Phillip Crawford, 32
- Aaron Russell, 19
- Zachary Snoeyink, 29
"We cannot and we don't encourage this type of activity," said GRPD Sgt. Terry Dixon of the actions of the YouTuber. "We do ask if there is any information regarding any criminal or potential criminal activity that you forward and just get that information to the police department or Silent Observer, so we can follow up. This is a very dangerous practice and we don't condone it."