A Bucks County police officer was among four men arrested by the Atlantic City Police Department for attempting to lure minors for sex, the department reported Sunday night.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub on Monday confirmed that Clifford Horn, 54, of Chalfont, who was listed as one of the four men, is a corporal with the Central Bucks Regional Police Department.
“Our office has assigned personnel to assist New Jersey authorities in any capacity, and to investigate and prosecute any criminal activity that may have occurred in Bucks County,” Weintraub said in a statement.
“Our office will begin the process of evaluating all Bucks County criminal cases in which Cpl. Horn was involved,” Weintraub said.
Chief Karl Knott, head of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, said administrative action against Horn would be announced soon.
In a brief statement Sunday posted on Facebook, the Atlantic City Police Department announced the arrests and said each man was charged with “luring/enticing a child by various means” and said they were arrested “with assistance from concerned citizens.”
“The concerned citizens were engaged in posing as underage children on various social media sites. They would confront the individual and notify local law enforcement. The citizens provided the responding officers with [screenshots] of conversations and detailed information that was shared between the citizens and the suspects,” the department said.
The police identified the other three men as Eugene Pulley, 49, of Philadelphia; Sambatrimiaina Raminoson, 26, of Atlantic City; and Jose Machuca, 51, of Maryland.
The “concerned citizens” were not identified.
Thomas “Tommy” Fellows, 39, who runs an organization called Colorado Ped Hunters, has claimed credit for the arrests.
He posts videos on YouTube of his “live catches.”
In a telephone interview Monday evening, Fellows said a livestream he posted this weekend allegedly shows Horn being confronted by Fellows at a meeting location that had been arranged online a few hours earlier.
Fellows said he did not know Horn was a police officer, but he had a suspicion. “We thought he was an attorney. He was just too good. He wouldn’t talk [when confronted],” Fellows said.
Fellows said he had been to the Atlantic City area around two months ago and spent three days conducting stings that resulted in several arrests. He returned this weekend for a second round of stings.
“We enjoyed Atlantic City. We had great success. The police were amazing,” he said, speaking from Florida, where he was forced to spend the night because of a layover on his way home to Colorado.
He said he essentially runs Colorado Ped Patrol by himself, but has help from associates and supporters.
Some police officials in Colorado have been critical of Fellows because of a general concern about vigilantism. Fellows said most police departments he has worked with have been supportive. He said he creates social media or dating app profiles posing as young teen girls or boys and waits.
“They reach out to us. We never reach out to them,” he said.
He said the contacts usually result in meetings within hours.
Fellows said he started the Colorado Ped Patrol around April because the pandemic had significantly slowed his window-washing business and one of his sons had been the victim of a sex assault.
In response to a request for comment about the Colorado Ped Patrol and Fellows, the Atlantic City Police Department emailed a general statement: “Protecting our youth is of the utmost importance to the Atlantic City Police Department. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office to bring those that want to cause harm to our children to justice.”