Sometimes referred to as vigilant justice, Thomas Fellows masquerades as a teenager to seduce men on the Internet and livestream videos when they appear directly on YouTube.
Fellows are window cleaners who work daily to catch predators.
Fellows and small teams equipped with cameras and safety vests prepare to expose older men who want to meet young boys and girls for sexual encounters.
“I use a dating app called Grindr,” said the fellow. “I never contact these people. They contact me first. They ask me my age, and I tell them I’m 13 years old, And they are supposed to block me and ban me. “
Fellows say that some people do the right thing and ban his profile, but the majority of men say it’s okay to have a quick online conversation.
News 5 asked, “How soon do these men want to meet after the conversation begins?”
“Sometimes it’s less than 30 minutes,” he said. “It can take a couple of days. Sometimes it starts with a conversation, it’s a nude photo, and sometimes you want to meet within 30 minutes.”
News 5 asks, “Does it really happen soon?”
“Yes,” said the fellow. “In a blink of an eye”
When men arrive for those “accidental encounters,” they meet a fellow and his camera.
You can hear the fellow say after “busting” an adult man trying to meet a 13-year-old boy, “Please reserve a seat.”
The fellow asks the man what he is doing.
“Well, I was in the grinder,” said the man. “And I met someone on it. He said he was 13 years old.”
The fellow asks, “How old are you?”
“I’m 24,” the man replied.
The fellow asks, “So what would you do with a 13-year-old kid if I weren’t here?”
“They wouldn’t have done anything they didn’t want me to do,” the man replied.
Fellows ask fictitious questions.
“So if he (13 years old) wanted to have sex, did you do that?”
“I may have,” said the man. “I dont know.”
News 5 asked fellows if they were afraid of the safety faced by men who may have weapons.
“We had a situation where they appeared with weapons,” he said. “Honestly, we’re informing them that we’re not law enforcement, so I think we’ll have a little benefit. We can get counseling and some help from them. Let them know. “
Fellows say the number of men who are willing to risk going to jail to meet minors is incredible.
In another puncture wound, the fellow confronts a man at a nearby department store.
He asks to meet the person he is here.
“Tommy,” said the man.
The fellow then asks, “How old is Tommy?”
“He’s 14 years old,” said the man.
The fellow replies, “How old are you?”
“I’m in my mid-30s,” said the man. “I wanted to sniff his feet.”
Some men run away by car, while others run away when faced.
“It’s a problem when I get online and can catch 90 guys within 120 days,” said the fellow.
News 5 asked fellows about the excuses offered by some men when faced.
“The first thing they say is that it’s always their first time.”
I thought this grandfather was appearing to meet a 13-year-old girl named “Cici”.
The fellow asked the man, “How old is Shichi?”
“I said she was 13 years old,” said the man.
The fellow asks, “Is it against the law?”
“Yes,” said the man.
The fellow then asks if the man is married.
“Yeah,” the man replied.
“Does your wife know that you are on this chat website?”
“No,” said the man. “I only got there 4-5 days ago. That was a bad idea.”
The fellow asks, “Have you ever done this?”
“No,” said the man.
The fellow says he arrested a man who wanted to pay to meet a 15-year-old boy with another puncture wound.
“Did you know you’re here to meet a 15-year-old kid?”
“Yes,” said the man.
The fellow asks, “How often do you do it?”
“Believe it or not, it’s the first time,” said the man.
“Is this the first time I’ve met a minor boy?”
“It’s always their first time, and in many cases they shouldn’t do this, even if they say they’re just going to be friends and want these guys to send you nasty pictures. Say to (minors) to do these nasty things, “said the fellow.
A fellow asked a man why he would pay $ 200 to have sex with a 15-year-old man.
The man replied, “It’s funny.”
Sadly, Thomas admits that some of the men he faces are wrong in what they are doing, but still say they did it anyway.
On another bust, the fellow meets a man who wanted to meet a 13-year-old man.
The fellow asks the man how old he is.
“I’m 52 years old,” the man replied.
Fellows follow up asking if a 52 year old girl is okay to meet a 13 year old girl.
“No, it’s not,” said the man. “number.”
Of the last 35 sting operations conducted by fellows and his team, about 20 have been arrested, he says.
“It’s worth it to me to get out there and hopefully prevent this from happening to other kids.”
Fellows are proud that a recently arrested man in Woodland Park was arrested and formally charged with committing a very similar crime over a year ago.
Robert A. Elliott was arrested in December 2019 and charged with internet seduction of child and child sexual assault. He will hold a hearing on July 27th.
In the Woodland Park case last month, Elliott was charged with internet temptation for a child and two other felony offenses. He has a court date set on July 12 for this case.
You can watch his fellow video sting operation YouTube channel.. He says he has no plans to stop arresting alleged predators.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Q: Does Mr. Fellow have a background in law enforcement?
A: No. He doesn’t have a gun and he doesn’t have a law enforcement license. He is considered a citizen with a camera.
Q: Do the police support his efforts?
A: He says he received a lot of feedback. Some law enforcement agencies will respond to his call when he arrests alleged predators, but some have told fellows that they are not involved in his actions.
Q: Does Mr. Fellow pretend to be a minor using someone else’s photo?
A: No. Fellow says he uses his “modified” photos on the Internet. Multiple apps allow users to “modify” or change functionality. However, News 5 has chosen not to disclose how to change the photo in this broadcast.
Q: Which app does Fellow use?
A: He says he uses multiple apps and websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Kik and Grindr.
Q: What kind of sin do these men face after being “busted”?
A: Review of court records often shows that these men are guilty of “internet temptation” and / or “sexual exploitation of children.”
Q: Why did the fellow participate in these sting operations?
A: He says his son was molested 10 years ago and has little sympathy for the man who preys on his child.
KOAA’s Eric Roth first reported this story.