JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local man said he’s exposing the people who prey on children.
Wesley Hoag, founder of North Florida Predator Hunters told Action News Jax he livestreams confrontations with men who think they’re meeting up with teens they’ve talked to online.
“Instead of meeting a 14, 16 year old, they meet up with myself, which, I livestream it on our public Facebook to expose who these people are,” Hoag said.
The videos get thousands of views.
When asked why he got involved in “predator hunting,” Hoag replied, “Personal experience, having friends, family as well that have fallen victim to sex crimes.”
According to the NFPH founder, decoys, who are over 18, use their own photos on dating apps and sites like Craigslist.
He said a man he previously confronted turned out to be a registered sexual predator.“He gave us the usual line of ‘I was here to tell her this was a bad idea,’” Hoag said.
He said he brings his information to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and also reports to Crimestoppers.
Action News Jax reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
A spokesperson sent the following statement:
“We have not heard of this organization.
“We would ask that individuals not put themselves in harm’s way by attempting to lure subjects into possible criminal behavior. As there are very specific requirements that would need to be met in order for an arrest to take place for this type of violation – the information received by anyone setting these individuals up would not be able to be used as probable cause for an arrest. We have officers specifically trained in this type of investigation and we work hand in hand with the State Attorney’s office when making arrests to ensure positive outcomes during future prosecutions.
“We would always ask that if someone suspects this type of behavior has been exhibited by an individual, to contact their local law enforcement agency for follow-up investigation.”
“We have police and we shouldn’t take the law into our hands,” Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said. “You could compromise the investigation by thinking you’re going out and getting the bad guys.”
Hoag said he plans on continuing the work, making the community aware.
Action News Jax asked Hoag if he considers himself a vigilante.
“To a point. I honestly, what I would consider myself is a concerned citizen that’s willing to take action upon myself,” Hoag said.
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