Student uses Snapchat gender filter to launch sting that nabs cop

Image courtesy of NBC Bay Area

A student in the United States has used Snapchat's gender-switch filter to pose as an underage girl, taking down a police officer who was allegedly up for hooking up.

Ethan told NBC he thinks the message was "Are you down to have some fun tonight?". But when Esther asked if he was "still down", he responded with the emoji of a man shrugging.

Ethan, who did not disclose his last name in fears of retaliation, told NBC Bay Area that he was looking to catch pedophiles because his friend had been sexually assaulted as a child. "It just happened to be a cop".

San Mateo police officer, Robert Davies, was arrested after allegedly trying to meet up with someone he thought was a 16-year-old girl on Tinder.

Tinder only allows adults to sign up, so "Esther" listed her age as 19.

The conversation moved to a different app where Ethan told the officer he was 16.

All along, Ethan told NBC Bay Area, he was mining Rob for small nuggets of personal information, so that it would be easy "for the police to track him down".

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"We started texting on there, and it got a lot more explicit", Ethan said of at least 12 hours' worth of chats on Tinder, Kik and Snapchat. Then he shared them with police.

"As soon as we became aware of the investigation by San Jose, the officer was placed on paid administrative leave and remains on administrative leave", the statement reads.

"Whether or not the person is 16 is irrelevant", San Jose Police Sgt. Enrique Garcia told KTVU. It wasn't clear from court records if he has an attorney.

San Jose police, who later reviewed screenshots of the conversation, reportedly told NBC that Davies was not concerned that he was speaking explicitly to someone he believed to be 16. He had also been recently recognized for his leadership with the San Mateo Police Department.

Snapchat's gender-swapping filter has been used to make a viral Evanescence video, alter famous works of art, and reveal Glenn Close's unexpected male celebrity look-alike since it launched in May. It's unclear whether any graduated to outright catfishing - a common romance scam in which people create fake personas to trick their targets into online relationships.

'Through the messages, on goal I would just get these little bits of information about him so it would be easier to track him down, ' Ethan told NBC.

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