The student, a 20-year-old named Ethan from the San Francisco Bay Area, used the feature - which transforms male faces into female faces - to disguise himself as a 16-year-old girl named Esther, he told NBC Bay Area.
The San Francisco Bay Area college student explained he had been inspired to "get someone" as he had a female friend who had been molested as a child. But even he didn't think he would end up catching a police officer.
'I was just looking to get someone... "He just happened to be a cop", he told NBC.
A policeman has been arrested after a student in California used the "gender swap" filter on Snapchat to pose as an underage girl.
Ethan told NBC he thinks the message was "Are you down to have some fun tonight?". So he chose to attempt a one-man sting to take down a pedophile.
Ethan and Davies brought their conversation to a different messaging app.
Davies requested to continue chatting on Snapchat, where they again discussed Esther's age, police said.
In 2018, A CT man was caught by a group called POPSquad, which lured him to meet up with a 14-year-old boy they had posed as on a dating app and posted a video of the encounter onto their Facebook page of more than 17,000 followers. Davies said it wouldn't.
"I was just looking to get someone", Ethan said. But he continued to engage in the chat even after learning Esther was a minor.
Ethan turned in the explicit messages the two had exchanged over a 12-hour period to Crime Stoppers. Police say that Ethan was able to research Davies after their conversations and determine his identity.
The student reportedly came forward as a "concerned citizen", alerting authorities of the potential sexual predator in last month, and after San Jose police launched an investigation, it was confirmed that Davies in fact was a police officer in San Mateo.
The cop, who has been put on paid administrative leave, was recently recognized for his police leadership.
In a statement on the San Mateo Police Department's Facebook page, police chief Susan Manheimer said the conduct, if true, "is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole".
Not all heroes wear capes.
Ethan has told NBC Bay Area that this was his first and last bust, but people on social media are applauding him.
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