Prosecutor's office asks citizens to stop 'vigilante' sex predator sting operations

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- The Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office is asking social media 'vigilante' groups to stop going after suspected online sexual predators on their own. It not only creates a dangerous situation, it hampers law enforcement efforts.

The prosecutor's office says citizens have been pretending to be minors in order to lure the suspect into an in-person meeting, record video of a confrontation, and post the video to social media.

Law enforcement officers are the only ones who are qualified to conduct such operations, the prosecutor's office said.

They have gone through the proper training and know the right techniques to collect and preserve evidence necessary for prosecution while respecting the constitutional rights of a suspect.

Those participating also open themselves up to lawsuits for libel or slander.

If you suspect someone is attempting to lure minors online, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

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