ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Hunting child predators: that’s what one St. Louis man says he's doing, by taking matters into his own hands.
Then, he posts it all online.
His name is Anthony Greene. He’s a trucker driver by trade; News 4 spoke with him online from a truck stop in Texas.
“If it saves one child, it's worth it to me,” Greene said, adding he has a personal reason for what he calls predator hunting.
“I don't remember to this day, they say I block it out, I just know I was a victim when I was young,” Greene told News 4’s Lauren Trager.
Inspired by others online, Greene created a group called Truckers Against Predators. He started confronting people two weeks ago, targeting two so far in our area.
How it works: Volunteer decoys post a simple message online and, when someone responds, the decoy pretends to be an underage minor.
“Half of them back out, and half of them proceed with the sexual type talk,” Green said. Then, the decoys arrange to meet.
Instead of children, though, it's Greene, with his camera, waiting for them.
“We have had Boy Scout leaders, teachers, even a police officer,” Green said.
Greene says he's not a vigilante.
‘If I were a vigilante, I would lay hand on someone and try to harm them,” he said. Instead, he says he says he wants them held accountable in public and behind bars.
“We expose them on Facebook and we turn all of the proof over to the police for arrests,” he said.
Greene does alert police. In fact, St. Louis police confirm they are investigating one man. Greene says they follow careful protocols recommended by police so not to entrap people.
“They are doing nothing illegal,” said former prosecutor Kristi Flint, who now works as a defense attorney. Flint says it's not a crime to lie online in order to bait someone this way.
The cases could be prosecuted in certain circumstances. Missouri says it is illegal to entice a child under the age of 15.
But Flint says even still, what Greene's doing is dangerous, opening him up to violence or even lawsuits.
“I would not recommend this. It is very dangerous,” said Flint.
“If something were to happen to me, I feel like this cause is bigger than my life,” Greene.
Greene says he knows the risks, but won't be deterred. No one’s kids are safe online. Greene has more setups planned, including one in Texas on Wednesday night, the same day News 4 spoke with him.
He says right now--he and other volunteers are talking with 40 more potential predators in the St. Louis area alone.
Greene says some officers have thanked him. News 4 reached out to St. Louis police who said they couldn't comment because they are investigating, but they say people who observe crimes and are willing to speak to police are always helpful.
A prosecutor we talked to, though, said she would never ever recommend doing this, saying it’s better to leave it to trained law enforcement professionals.