QUEENS, N.Y. — A Queens resident is on a mission to expose potential sexual predators by setting up sting operations and streaming them live on Facebook.
“I’m going to expose these guys to New York City and let them know who they are,” Tony Blas said.
Blas doesn't work in law enforcement. Instead, he works with a team of volunteers.
“We go on certain different dating sites and we post ads that we're 23, 24 years old and we wait for a response,” Blas said. “Once we get a response back, our next response to them is, ‘Really I’m not 24, I'm actually either 13, 14 or 15.'"
The online conversation continues.
“We don’t initiate any kind of sex talk or anything. Usually they will start to ask for pictures and we will tell them again, ‘I am 13, 14, or 15,’” he said.
Blas said if the men want to meet with the teen girl they think they are chatting with, he shows up instead and then streams their conversation on social media. Afterwards, Blas said, he turns over any evidence to police.
Former NYPD Sgt. Manny Gomez is concerned Blas might be putting himself and others at risk.
"There are entire units that are dedicated to this, but they do it with training," he said. "They do it with warrants. They do it with the permission and authority of the government, not a vigilante.”