Meet Mr. 17540: a self-proclaimed child predator catcher from Lancaster County

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LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- A self-proclaimed child predator catcher has made it his mission to lure and expose suspected bad guys in Lancaster County.

A Lancaster County Man calls himself a child predator catcher, conducting a number of stings and filming them on Facebook live.

His efforts now catching the attention of thousands of viewers online and the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

The man says his goal is to expose child predators.

He does so by posting online ads, pretending to be a teenage girl, and luring the people to public places.

That’s when he films the entire counter.

“Like what goes through your head that thought it was okay to be like, ‘okay, I’m going to go hang out with this 15-year-old when you’re a 40-year-old man?!” said Mr. 17540.

A recent video posted by Facebook user, Mr. 17540 shows a man confronting a guy he believes could be a child predator.

"Someone’s gotta do it. Why not me?" said Justin Perry of Leola.

Justin Perry is Mr. 17540, a Lancaster County man.

17540 is one of his tattoos and Facebook username, representing Leola’s zip code where he lives and boasts ‘taking down predators one at a time’.

“The heat of the moment, as soon as you pull up there, it’s go time!" he explained.

Perry poses as a 15-year-old girl, posting ads online. He’ll message back and forth with people, before meeting at a public place.

That’s when he films the entire encounter.

“God forbid something does go wrong, everyone sees it," said Perry.

He doesn't wear any protective gear or carry a gun. His only protection is his nephew, who tags along.

On one instance, he claims he was offered money by an older man.

“Keep your hands where I can see them… no, I don’t want your money!” he said to one man.

His most recent ‘expose’ at a gas station in Lancaster County catching the attention of the New Holland Police Department and the district attorney.

Brett Hambright, a spokesman for the DA’S office sent FOX43 this statement: "Our office, in conjunction with local police, are investigating all aspects of this. We have gathered information and evidence, and there is more to be done. It would be premature to offer analysis or opinion of the conduct involved. We are in the investigation process, so it is just too early.”

Mr. 17540 says he doesn’t believe he’s breaking any laws. He’s constantly asked why he doesn’t call police in the heat of the moment.

“As bad as it sounds, the police can’t just drop whatever they’re doing and come to everyone of these," he explained.

He says he’s hoping to make Lancaster County a safer place.

“It shouldn’t be this easy to post a message, and meet up with somebody," he added.

New Holland Police are investigating. An officer tells FOX43 this is a very uncommon situation.

Perry says he was contacted by two police departments, handing over a cellphone as evidence.

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