Man nabbed by Predator Poachers gets eight years

Saukville resident was arrested after meeting ‘girl’ he messaged online in park
Ozaukee Press staff

A 39-year-old man who was caught trying to molest a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl in a Saukville park more than a year ago by a group that shames people on social media who it suspects are child predators was sentenced last week in Ozaukee County Circuit Court to eight years in prison.

Saukville resident Steven M. Peltonen, who pleaded guilty in September to a felony charge of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, was also sentenced by Judge Steve Cain during a Dec. 21 court hearing to five years of extended supervision following his incarceration.

Peltonen was arrested in November 2021 after five members of a group that calls itself the Predator Poachers confronted him in Quade Park.

Most cases like this are investigated by undercover law enforcement officers, but in this case members of Predator Poachers, one of whom was posing as a 13-year-old girl, initiated contact with a man named Steven on social media, engaged him in an exchange of messages between Nov. 11 and Nov. 16, set up the meeting in the park and confronted him, according to a criminal complaint.

  In the messages, Steven, who authorities said they learned was Peltonen, asked the person posing as 13-year-old “Melissa” if she ever took “naughty” pictures of herself, then sent her an obscene photo of himself, the complaint states.

Peltonen also said he wanted to engage in sexual acts with her, according to the complaint.

Peltonen and “Melissa” agreed to meet on Nov. 16, 2021, and a Predator Poachers member posing as the girl, referred to as the “decoy” was waiting for him in Quade Park. Members of the group said that after some small talk, the person posing as the girl asked him, “Do you still want to do it?” Peltonen replied, “Yeah, I mean, whatever you want to do.” He then wrapped his arms around the decoy from behind her, according to the complaint.

The decoy then used a code word that prompted four other members of her group to confront Peltonen, then call police.

The members of the group are identified only by initials in the complaint, and Saukville Police Chief Robert Meyer declined at the time of the arrest to say where they are from.

Predator Poachers, which posts videos of “catches” from throughout the country online, advertises that “we will come to your community to catch predators, and you can officially become a Predator Poacher when we’re there.”

The group sells subscriptions to its site and offers all subscribers videos of “early, completely uncensored, non-YouTube friendly version of catches.”

During last week’s hearing, Cain ordered Peltonen not to have contact with anyone younger than 16 without the approval of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and not to use the internet, establish social media or dating site accounts or pursue a romantic or sexual relationship without supervision by the department.

Peltonen must also register as a sex offender.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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