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Biker group snares suspected child predator in Chippewa Falls, which leads to arrest | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A group that says its mission is to expose online predators recently gave law enforcement information that led to the arrest of two Chippewa Valley men for child sex crimes, and local officials are reminding citizens turn over suspicions to police rather than try and snare predators themselves.

On June 24, the Chippewa Falls Police Department received information regarding a Chippewa Falls resident who had been communicating with an adult member of Bikers Against Predators who was posing as an 11-year-old girl, according to the president of the group.

Bikers Against Predators had traveled to Chippewa Falls from its home base in Indiana to meet with Steven J. Burich, 25, of Chippewa Falls at the East Hill Kwik Trip in an attempt to prove Burich was a child predator.

There was no girl involved in the meeting. Instead, Burich was confronted by a member of Bikers Against Predators who recorded the conversation at the Chippewa Falls gas station.

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Soon thereafter, police officers arrived and arrested Burich, Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm confirmed.

Bikers Against Predators gave law enforcement its recordings and email exchanges with Burich, which demonstrated his intentions to meet a juvenile.

According to the criminal complaint against Burich, after consultation with the Chippewa County district attorney’s office, Burich faces charges of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime as a repeat offender; child enticement as a persistent repeat offender; and causing a child under 13 to view/listen to sexual activity as a persistent repeat offender.

Burich was transported to the Chippewa County Jail and is currently being held on a $100,000 cash bond.

According to the criminal complaint, Burich was previously convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child on July 16, 2018. He was released from prison on extended supervision May 9.

According to Kelm, this incident led to the arrest of a suspect for very serious charges, which is something that the community, including the police department, can appreciate. But he said he prefers that people not try to snare predators themselves.

“While having the best of intentions, citizen-led investigations like this can create concerns. Depending on the facts of the case, prosecution or any follow-up that law enforcement may need to complete could be hindered,” Kelm said in a statement about the incident. “Furthermore, there is a safety concern when private citizens confront offenders in cases such as this. The penalties can be severe for these types of crimes and offenders know this, which can make it very dangerous when they are cornered.”

Kelm said the Chippewa Falls Police Department encourages anyone who has information or concerns about potential internet crimes against children to contact local law enforcement agencies right away.

Law enforcement complete extensive training before conducting investigations into internet crimes against children to ensure proper guidelines and protocols are followed, Kelm said.

“The best way for a private citizen to help is to be vigilant, be a good witness and report matters quickly to their local law enforcement agency,” he said.

The same week that Burich was confronted by Bikers Against Predators members in Chippewa Falls, an Eau Claire man, 30-year-old Cameron Ulrich, was also caught up in an initiative by Bikers Against Predators.

The Eau Claire Police Department was given information about Ulrich by members of Bikers Against Predators.

According to the criminal complaint, Ulrich was chatting with what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl on Grindr, but the person was a member of Bikers Against Predators.

After attempting to meet with the minor, Ulrich was arrested for using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime by the Eau Claire Police Department.

Ulrich was in court on June 26, when a $25,000 signature bond was set. He is scheduled to return to court in August.

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