24 arrests in Albany as a result of “citizen-led” online predator catcher | News | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

ALBANY, Ore. — 24 people were arrested for charges related to corruption of minors after an online “predator catcher” operated out of Albany between March and April.

The predator catcher, who runs an online account titled ‘People vs. Pred’ on Facebook under the username “Tim Johnson,” said he has been operating the account for three years. Over that time, he claims to have caught more than 400 suspected child predators, 150 of which have led to arrests.

“The reason why I do it is because the problem is too prevalent,” he said. “The issue is too widespread. It’s happening everywhere, every place, every minute, every hour.”

“Tim” said it all starts with online profiles he creates, posing as a minor.

“I have online profiles on the internet where people reach out to me. I let them know that I’m under age — 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,” he said. “And these monsters continue the conversation, which happens to get sexual. A meeting spot is arranged, and they show up to meet who they believe to be is the child.”

Videos of arrests happening across Albany were recently uploaded and went viral on Albany Facebook groups.

In a response to the media attention, Albany Police Department wanted to make it clear that they did not set up any sort of sting operations. They said they simply responded to 911 calls. “Tim” confirmed.

“They definitely weren’t working with me. ‘Working with me’ is a hard word to use. Law enforcement’s job and responsibility is to respond to calls of service,” he said. “And when I call and say, ‘hey, I have a child predator that wants to meet at Winco at this time and I have this evidence’ — well, it would be pretty hard not to not take that evidence.”

The Albany Police Department said the predator catcher called them multiple times during his stay in Albany.

Another screen grab from another video posted to “People vs. Pred” Facebook group appearing to show an arrest in Albany by APD. 

“He has called APD on multiple occasions, where people are taking part in a felony crime, and without a doubt, we respond,” the Albany Police Department said in a Facebook post addressing the recent arrests.

“Takeaway for child predators: do not come to Albany. We are here and you will be arrested,” the Facebook post said.

Aaron Arellano joined KEZI 9 News as a news reporter in September of 2023. If you have a story idea for Aaron, you can email him at [email protected].

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