Zach Wheeler, an anchor at NBC affiliate WETM-TV, was busted driving three hours trying to meet a 15-year-old boy in a “To Catch a Predator” style bust by a group called 607 Predator Hunters.
607 Predator Hunters is one of many YouTube channels that seek to expose pedophiles by pretending to be children, then going to meet them with a camera.
When first confronted, the anchor claimed that he believed the person to be 18-years-old, despite being told the age by the group’s decoy.
Wheeler then shifted to claim that he was there to do a “story” for his news outlet — not there to try and have sex with the young boy. He claimed that he was there to “talk” and warn him to “get off these apps.”
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After that didn’t work, Wheeler implied that they were engaging in homophobia and accused the group of only going after gay people — which is clearly false and can be debunked with a quick glance through their YouTube channel.
“Why do you guys do this to gay and lesbian people,” he asks.
Wheeler goes on to ask if they are here to “ruin people’s lives” and whines that he is “going to lose my job and everything.”
The alleged predator also accuses the anti-pedophile group of engaging in “cancel culture.”
At one point, Wheeler is confronted with the sexually explicit chat log — in which he asked the person he believed to be a child for “sexy pics.”
In a desperate attempt to hide what he had done, Wheeler offers to get the group exposure on television or give them money.
WETM posted a statement about the incident to their Facebook page.
“WETM has been made aware of a video posted to YouTube regarding one of our employees,” the statement said. “The local group that posted the video claims that the employee engaged in inappropriate behavior. WETM management is looking into the questions raised by the video, and the employee will remain off the air until the situation is resolved. No charges have been filed in connection with the video.”
Wheeler is no longer listed on WETM’s website.