UPDATE @ 12:08 a.m. (March 5): The man who is responsible for shooting the 'Predator Poachers' videos that led to two arrests Wednesday said police want him to refer to himself as a concerned citizen, but he prefers to call himself a "vigilante."
The self-proclaimed vigilante, who asked that he not be identified by name, told News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy he was molested as a child and doesn’t want it to happen to anyone else.
He and his friend “decided we’d try to clean up the mean streets out here,” he said. “The thing that surprises me is how many of them are out there willing to do this, to meet up with a child. It’s alarming.”
He said area police agencies have asked him and his friends to call them when they meet up with someone asking to meet children. It’s not entrapment, the self-proclaimed vigilante said, “there’s nothing to it, nothing illegal about it. It’s just talking to a guy on an app and filming him in public.”
He has been videotaping child sex crime suspects about a month and intends to keep videotaping.
“It’s a crime and cops can’t be everywhere,” he said.
Two men are accused of attempting to meet underage teens for sex after videos of encounters were recorded and posted to YouTube by an apparent vigilante group.
Kenneth R. Curtis and Matthew D. West, both of Brookville, are facing felony charges and remain in jail.
Police said the videos show an apparent sting operation that was not conducted by law enforcement.
Police were notified of a YouTube video on March 2, that shows Curtis arriving at a location in Brookville and attempting to meet with a person who he thought was teen for sex, according to the release.
“Curtis used a gay app called Grindr to engage with other gay males,” a statement of facts filed in municipal court read. “Curtis agreed to meet with what he thought was a 15-year-old boy to have lunch and have sex with him.”
Later on the same day, police discovered a second YouTube video. That video showed West arriving in Englewood and also attempting to meet a person who he thought was a 15-year-old for sex, police said.
According to a statement of facts, West was recorded on camera at an address in Englewood on Feb. 17.
“The defendant began chatting on the social media app Grindr with a (person) who was posing as a 15-year-old male,” court records read. “When the defendant arrived at the residence, he was confronted by (the person) who video recorded the encounter and then posted the video on social media under the YouTube channel name of Predator Poachers Dayton.”
Curtis was arrested within an hour of police learning about the video and West was arrested March 3, approximately 24 hours after authorities learned of the second video, the release said.
During an interview with an Englewood police detective, West admitted it was his “intention to meet a 15-year-old male in order to engage in sexual acts,” court records read.
Attempting to commit unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a fourth degree felony.