Child luring arrests surge in Atlantic City with help from Youtube

ATLANTIC CITY — The number of arrests for child luring in South Jersey with the help of vigilante YouTubers has hit double digits, police confirmed on Monday.

On Monday, the Atlantic City Police Department said 17 men had been arrested for attempted child luring in the span of about two weeks with “the assistance of concerned citizen groups.” Those arrested ranged in age from 23 to 77 – seven of them were residents of New Jersey.

All of the incidents involved a duo who operate two YouTube channels where they conduct “To Catch a Predator” style showdowns.

Their number of “unofficial” arrest aids was even higher on Monday.

“26 in 2 weeks” is the title of a video montage of every man facedon Nirvana’s song “Something In The Way”.

“JUSTICE – Thanks to Atlantic County Police, Prosecutors and Shafiq,” added the title of the video posted by the Mr. web channel.

Shafiq, as his name suggests in this video, runs a separate channel, “Predator Catchers PA”.

For every video of a confrontation with a child accused of luring, there seemed to be third-party assistance to call the police to respond to the site.

Capturing Civilian Predators

New Jersey 101.5 had requested information from Atlantic City police on Thursday about other luring arrests that involved such ‘citizen assistance,’ after Atlantic City’s first arrest and two in a nearby town all involved the same duo behind the Youtube accounts.

“The concerned citizens were posing as minor children on various social media sites. They would then confront the individual and notify the police,” according to a written statement released early Monday evening.

Police initially confirmed the July 19 decoy arrest of retired Pennsylvania teacher Gerald Colapinto.

Egg Harbor Township police previously confirmed two similar arrests involving the same citizen duo calling in officers. Raymond Effinger, 53, of Hammonton, was arrested for luring on July 27, days after the first recorded confrontation.

The same citizens also called Egg Harbor Township police on July 24 with video evidence to cause a decoy arrest of Roger Tomes at the Graef Shipyard.

Each of the following people arrested by Atlantic City police have been charged with luring/attracting a child by various means:

– Andrew Rheinheimer, 41, of Absecon

– Delbin Martinez, 28, of Atlantic City

– Bruce Cahan, 77, of Atlantic City

– Sidney Yee, 67, of Atlantic City

– Henri Pacheco-Medina, 24, from Atlantic City

– Diego Delossantos, 27, of Atlantic City

– Colby Jones, 26, of Galloway

– Jonathan Shillingford Coll, 28, of Avondale, Pennsylvania

– Gerald Colapinto, 65, of Yardley, PA (as previously reported)

– Avraham Holtzberg, 48, from Brooklyn, NY

– Joseph Donofrio, 31, of Yonkers, NY

– Juwin Jumpp, 26, of Vestal, NY

– Steven Wentzel, 51, of Williston, NY

– Alex Damian, 37, of Stamford CT

– Johnny Puma, 54, of Lexington, SC

– Nareshan Reddy, 34, of Vero Beach, Florida

– Christopher Sharpe, 23, of Sweet Water, AL

If convicted, each could face five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

All of those arrested were being held at the Atlantic County Jail except for Yee, who received a summons pending a future court date.

It was not immediately clear where the other attempted decoy arrests the Youtube hosts referenced in Atlantic County during the same two-week period had taken place.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Atlantic City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Section at 609-347-5766.

Information can also be sent anonymously by SMS to tip411 (847411). Begin the text with ACPD.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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