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Mom Catches Predator

Photograph by Getty Images

If you’re a fan of the To Catch a Predator series on TV, you’ll love this true-life version of the show: A mom in Florida launched her own sting operation to catch the man who’d been sending her daughter pornographic text messages.

The man, 23-year-old Michael Bradley, communicated with the girl through her Facebook account, convincing her to give him her phone number, say police and the girl’s mother. Mom went to police with copies of the texts Bradley was sending (including inquiries about whether she was a virgin, if she would be willing to skip school talk to him instead, and if she wanted to have sex for her next birthday present), along with his phone number. When police told the girl’s mother they needed more evidence in order to arrest him, the woman sprang into action.

"Just because someone texts something inappropriate doesn't mean there's sufficient evidence for an arrest," said St. Petersburg police spokesman Michael Puetz to ABC News.com. "First, we have to establish the suspect is the person sending that text. Just because it's a particular phone number doesn't suffice. You need more evidence."

At that point, Mom took the problem into her own hands. Pretending to be her daughter, she continued the banter with Bradley, sending him an image of a teen model from a chain-store ad when he wanted to see a picture of her. In return, he sent a photo of a naked body. When she asked for a shot that included his face, Bradley sent it—finally providing the key evidence to lead to his arrest.

On Monday Bradley was arraigned on 16 counts, including distributing obscene material to a minor.

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