- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A California girl was kidnapped Sunday after she and a group of friends attempted to catch a pedophile in an amateur sting.

Authorities said the girls targeted 32-year-old Robert Dreyfus, who is currently being held on a $175,000 bail for suspicions of sending harmful matter to a minor, communication with a minor and kidnapping.

Police said the girls wanted proof he was attempting to meet up with underage girls so they could turn the information over to authorities, so they used a social media app to communicate with Mr. Dreyfus and eventually scheduled a meeting in Vista, California, to catch him in the act, San Diego’s KGTV originally reported.

Authorities said Mr. Dreyfus “convinced the 17-year-old victim to get into his vehicle to talk,” but then drove off without her consent, leaving the girl to text her partners for help.

Her friends contacted authorities, who found Mr. Dreyfus and the girl still in the car, unharmed.

Experts caution such amateur sleuthing is not only hazardous but also carries the risk of endangering a successful sex-crimes prosecution.

“This was really dangerous and something that’s best left to professionals in law enforcement,” Jan Ronis, a criminal defense attorney, said, reported KGTV. “Normally, law enforcement runs these operations. The solicitation is recorded. The conversations and meeting places are surveilled. This is a bunch of kids.”

For its part, the local sheriff’s department put out a statement, discouraging people “from setting up meetings or contacting anyone for the purpose of catching an individual who is committing a crime.”

Mr. Dreyfus is scheduling to appear in court next week for arraignment, according to KGTV.


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