Digital Forensics Dispatch

Digital Forensics Blog
by Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Citizen Sting Operation Leads Police to Arrest Child Predator

June 16, 2022

Jessica York, a journalist for Santa Cruz Sentinel, recently published an article on a citizen sting operation catching a child predator.

An anonymous San Diego man that goes by the name of “Ghost” has created an online website called Creep Catching Unit (CC Unit). This organization is behind the “movement out of California that strives to help protect minors from online predators both by catching these predators, and raising community awareness around the issue in hopes of toughening laws and legislation.”

According to “Ghost”, he was pretending to be a teenage girl online when 62-year-old Valentin Rodriguez exchanged numerous inappropriate messages and photographs and ultimately asked who he thought was a teenage girl, to meet him in the city of Santa Cruz to have sex.

Ghost provided the police with “compelling evidence for probable cause to arrest the suspect” according to the release. In addition, the responding officers required a “live text exchange between Ghost and Rodriguez’s phones in order to verify that the two men had been in contact with each other.”

The police then informed Rodriguez’s employer, Hartnell College of the Automotive Technology Department, of his arrest.

Officers have also obtained a search warrant to conduct forensic investigations on his computers, cell phone, and other electronic devices.

Rodriguez was arrested and was put into the Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of a felony charge of arranging to meet with a minor for sex but was later released. Detectives are still sorting through digital forensics as the case is still ongoing.

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