Lancaster vigilante helps with arrest, faces child pornography charges

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"The guy was messaging back and forth for a while, and was like, ‘Hey, I want to come meet you here, here, and here.' And you guys saw in the video what happened next.”

The video seen above captures a moment Justin Perry, or Mr. 17540, as he calls himself, has been working for.

“We have looked at everything he’s been doing in the past, and certainly we aren’t going to look over or neglect any potential criminal activity," said Brett Hambright, the Lancaster County District Attorney's spokesperson.

Police arrested 36 year-old Thomas Wise, who you can see in the video, on several counts, including statutory sexual assault.

This is the first arrest in Mr. 17540’s efforts to catch a child predator.

He lures in potential suspects online by posing as a 15 year-old girl.

He then meets them in a public place, and records the entire interaction on FaceBook live.

“These people are out here. We give our phone to our children, like, 'Hey, mommy and daddy need to go do something.' But we’re putting predators in their hands,” said Perry.

But one other arrest was made too…

“I gift wrapped this guy to you and handed it to you. And you do this to me? It shocked me,” said Perry.

Police called Perry in for questioning about Wise, and that’s when they say they made a disturbing discovery on his phone.

“I go in there, they're like, 'Hey we have some concerns about pictures,' and I’m just like, 'What? What are you talking about?'”

Perry is charged with child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility.

But he says he knows nothing about the photos.

“Any picture I’ve ever sent any decoy, it was always a face shot from here up, and that was that. There was no inappropriate pictures my knowledge on that phone,” said Perry.

He says he will continue to be proud of his role in Wise’s arrest, knowing he did nothing wrong.

“The guys in jail right now. He’s in jail. That was because of me. I did that. And no matter what happens, they’re not going to take that away from me. Because I did that,” said Perry.

Despite the arrest, law enforcement officials say they do not condone Perry’s efforts to catch alleged predators, and urge people to leave that kind of work to professionals.

Perry is free awaiting his preliminary hearing.

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