A Comox Valley man is at the centre of a video made by Canada’s self-proclaimed “vigilante pedophile hunter,” following attempts to meet a 13-year-old child in Courtenay.
Earlier this week, Justin Payne, 29, posted a nearly hour-long video to his YouTube channel about the encounter, which includes video of his text messages posing as an underage female to entice the man to meet with him at a public location on Lerwick Road.
Payne has been compared to the group Creep Catchers – a group that takes proactive measures to prevent adults from meeting underage children on social media – but Payne does his work relatively solo, with just a bodyguard and/or videographer in tow.
He travels across Canada posing as underage children on social media, with the goal of meeting his suitors face-to-face, filming the confrontation and subsequently posting the video on social media.
Videos on his YouTube channel have more than 3.8 million views.
In two days, the video featuring the Comox Valley man has more than 15,000 views.
“It was me chatting with you the whole time,” said Payne as he confronts the man in the aisle of a Courtenay retail store.
“You guys aren’t going to hurt me or anything?” asks the man.
“No – nobody’s not going to hurt you – I can guarantee that. That’s why I picked a public place, so that everybody’s safe,” replied Payne.
“It is going on the web,” added Payne’s partner. “It’s going to go all over Facebook, it’s going to go all over online. Your name, your face, everything.”
The video ends by Payne showing text messages from the man asking for help and apologizing.
Const. Rob Gardner of the Comox Valley RCMP said the police are aware of the video, but no formal charges have been laid.
“We are always concerned when people decide to bypass law enforcement and take matters into their own hands,” said Gardner. “When that happens, there is a risk that investigations can be jeopardized and key evidence can be lost.”
The Record has reached out to Payne for comment and will update this story as it develops.