Snapchat gender swap catches cop allegedly seeking underage sex

A San Francisco Bay Area student reportedly used a Snapchat filter to hunt for predators on Tinder.


Angela Lang/Techhnews

A San Francisco Bay Area man reportedly used Snapchat’s gender swap filter to take down a police officer allegedly looking for an underage hookup on Tinder. Ethan, a 20-year-old college student, took a photo of himself and used the feature to pose as a teenage girl named “Esther” as way to hunt predators, NBC Bay Area reported Tuesday. 

The fake profile said Esther was 19, which apparently caught San Mateo Officer Robert Davies’ eye on Tinder, CBS News reported. They then moved the conversation to Kik Messenger and Snapchat.

Ethan, whose last name wasn’t disclosed, then said that he was 16, but this allegedly didn’t bother the officer and their messages “got a lot more explicit” as they talked for over 12 hours. The student then sent screengrabs of the conversations — taken in Airplane Mode because Snapchat alerts you when a screenshot taken — to Crime Stoppers, according to NBC Bay Area.

According to the San Jose Police Department, Davies was arrested last week on suspicion of discussing sexual activity with a minor on social media.

The San Mateo Police Department noted in a statement that Davies’ alleged actions “occurred while he was off-duty in another county” and that he’s been placed on paid administrative leave amid the investigation.

“This alleged conduct, if true, is in no way a reflection of all that we stand for as a Department, and is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole,” San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer said in the statement. “As San Mateo police officers, we have sworn an oath to serve and protect our communities.”

Ethan reportedly told police he was motivated to hunt down potential predators by a female friend who told him she’d been molested as a child.

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