Police say they’re aware of and are looking into a YouTube video allegedly involving a man attempting to meet with a 15-year-old boy in Wellsboro.
“The incident is being looked into by different agencies cooperating with the district attorney,” Wellsboro Police Chief Jim Bodine told this newspaper.
The YouTube video posted April 4 shows a man sitting in his car parked outside a business in Wellsboro. It’s not clear if the video was filmed the same day it was uploaded.
The person filming, whose face is only shown at the end of the video, is speaking to the man about his alleged intentions of meeting a 15-year-old boy who the man says he spoke to on the dating app Grindr. The person filming tells the man they were posing as and talking to him as the 15-year-old boy online.
In the video the man says he attempted to meet the boy in person to “try to give him a better outlook on life” and that he was unaware that meeting underage youth is illegal. He denies the meeting was for sex.
The man does give his name, but it’s unclear if it’s his real name. Bodine could not identify the man in the video or where he lives while the investigation is ongoing. He also said investigating agencies don’t yet know the identity of the person filming or where he is from.
Bodine said it’s not yet clear if the just over 10-minute video will be admissible evidence should charges be sought. He said, “If people suspect something such as this, we ask they come to us first so we can take the appropriate course of action.”
The account that posted the video, “Predator Stoppers,” joined YouTube on March 17 of this year. Of the five videos that have been uploaded, all seeming to be vigilante-type operations involving men allegedly attempting to meet who they believe are children. The video taken in Wellsboro has the most views, 12,773 views as of Wednesday morning.