The Prineville man who films himself in confrontations with alleged pedophiles was arrested last week during one of his busts.
Authorities are not releasing information about the arrest of Cougar Martin Joanis, who was cited on suspicion of first-degree disorderly conduct and menacing and taken to Crook County jail, according to the jail website.
Joanis, whom The Bulletin profiled last month, has been released, and the Crook County District Attorney’s Office has yet to make a charging decision in the case.
A self-styled vigilante, the former fast-food employee poses as a 13- to 14-year-old on dating apps and arranges in-person meetups with adults, then films the ensuing confrontations. He and a few friends have posted more than a dozen videos of the confrontations. Despite his enthusiasm, Joanis’ efforts have netted zero arrests. Until now.
Joanis told The Bulletin he arranged a meetup at his home last week with a 48-year-old man from Portland. The man arrived around 2 a.m. Friday. Joanis approached him and filmed a confrontation lasting about three minutes, he said.
Joanis was wearing a bulletproof vest. He had a scarf covering his face, and he was armed with a 6-inch fixed-blade knife, he said.
Police driving by shined a spotlight in their direction, he said.
“I think the cops saw a man clad in black waving a phone and berating a 48-year-old man in a parking lot at 2 and assumed I was hurting him or something else,” Joanis wrote to The Bulletin.
Joanis was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car while police spoke with one of his associates.
According to Joanis, police spoke with the older man for about a half an hour before releasing the man and taking Joanis to jail.
Joanis said he never learned the older man’s name.
Local law enforcement officials and Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting have personally asked Joanis to stop, citing safety concerns and the possibility he will jeopardize an ongoing investigation. In the past month, Joanis has remained active in his mission and posted three new videos.
He’s now trying to get by without his phone, which he calls his main tool for catching “creeps,” and which was confiscated by police as evidence.
“I’ll need to gather some new gear before I do anything,” he said.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org