Surrey Creep Catchers’ president Ryan LaForge has been charged with two counts of assault and one count of uttering threats related to “stings” his group did in Whalley in April.
LaForge said he performed a “citizens arrest” on April 3 during a “sting” on a man he alleged came to pay for sex with a six-year-old outside the Tim Horton’s at Central City Shopping Centre, in the 10100-block of King George Boulevard.
Police arrested LaForge for assault related to the citizens arrest and released him with a promise to appear in court on June 7.
Burnaby resident Kuljinder Singh Bhatti, 35, is accused of trying to lure a minor for a sexual purpose and making an arrangement with a person for a sexual offence involving a person under age 18.
Creep Catchers representatives pose as children online, arrange to meet adults who think they’ve been communicating with a child, confront them, film them and then post the videos on Facebook. The group set up in Surrey last summer.
On Thursday afternoon the Surrey RCMP issued a press release concerning the charges against LaForge, 34, and said a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Corporal Scotty Schumann said in the early evening of April 19 police responded to a call in the 10100-block of King George Boulevard.
“A confrontation occurred between one man alleged to be involved in child luring and three men believed to be involved in the vigilante group,” Schumann said. “Surrey RCMP attended and arrested two men at the scene — one suspect alleged to be involved in child luring, and Lance Loy, 37-years-old of Surrey, from the vigilante group. The two other men, one being LaForge, fled the scene prior to police arrival. As a result of this incident, both LaForge and Loy are now charged with one count of assault.”
Loy was expected to appear in Surrey provincial court Thursday. “A third suspect is being investigated for his part in these incidents,” Schumann said.
“Police want to remind the public that vigilantism, no matter how well meaning, poses significant risks to the safety of all those involved,” Schumann said. “Using our highly trained investigators in a controlled environment is the best way to get dangerous offenders off our streets and ensure they are held accountable.”
He said police advise the public to go to www. cybertip.ca to report incidents of online sexual exploitation of children. Schumann noted that investigations into the allegations of child luring in the aforementioned cases is ongoing.
LaForge could not be immediately reached for comment.
Surrey Creep Catchers made national headlines last September after a woman working with the group posed as a 15-year-old girl and allegedly communicated with an off-duty Surrey Mountie online after posting an ad on Craigslist.
A meeting was set up outside the Boston Pizza at Surrey Central Shopping Mall in Whalley and LaForge and his crew live-streamed the sting on the Internet. Constable Dario Devic was arrested on Sept. 9 and his next appearance in Surrey provincial court is set for Aug. 3, 2017. He has been suspended from police duty.