NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. (WFFT) -- The nonprofit Bikers Against Predators says they have exposed 135 people since they began in February of 2021.
The group started after one of their own children became the target of a predator online.
“I had a incident with my own daughter with a predator online. The individual was messaging her - actually had her location, things like that through Snapchat,” founder of the organization “Boots” said.
He goes by Boots to protect his identity because of the nature of his work.
He says seeing his child targeted last year kicked his passion for catching predators into gear.
“I knew that there had to be more cases like this. There had to be people out there doing this kind of thing, more than the public had seen,” Boots said.
He and a team of seven people made it their mission to show the public the very real dangers that lurk in their children’s DMs by pretending to be children themselves.
Boots is not the one people see when they show up to meet-ups, though.
They use a young local mom as a decoy.
“I use my own pictures. It makes it super easy for me because I can video chat and just send live photos off of the apps where that can be a verification photo for them,” Vans said.
She goes by “Vans” because of the shoes she wears to meet predators.
“It does get a little bit scary when you go to meet-up but… we have a good team. We have people all spread-out during meets and stuff,” Vans said.
She says she has been disgusted by some of the things men have messaged her after she told them she was 13 years old.
“The felony is… The solicitation is speaking about it and wanting to meet. So once that’s happened, I mean, we have a case against them,” Boots said.
He has been shocked by the careers of some of the people they have met up with.
During a recent livestream, the man Vans met said he was a local music teacher who teaches “all ages.”
Boots used to tell parents to check their kids’ apps to make sure they’re safe but he changed his mind over the last year.
“Honestly, it’s changed to the point after catching so many and seeing these different conversations and seeing how they’re going, if they’re not old enough to pay for a cell phone, they don’t need it,” Boots said.
Bikers Against Predators is a nonprofit and Boots says anyone who wants to donate can do so through their Facebook page.