College student uses Snapchat's gender swap feature to catch cop accused of seeking underage hookup

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Authorities arrested a California police officer last week on suspicion of trying to prey on an underage girl after he solicited a college student who was using Snapchat’s gender swap feature to pose as a 16-year-old girl, according to investigators.

San Jose police on Thursday arrested Robert Davies, a 40-year-old officer with the San Mateo Police Department, on suspicion of contacting a minor to commit a felony.


Police said his arrest came nearly one month after a tipster contacted Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers to report that Davies talked to him about “engaging in sexual activity” as he was posing as a 16-year-old girl on Tinder.

"I believe he messaged me, 'Are you down to have some fun tonight?' and I decided to take advantage of it," Ethan, a 20-year-old San Francisco Bay Area college student, told KNTV. He declined to give his last name due to fear of retaliation.

Ethan told KNTV he created a Tinder profile for a fictitious 19-year-old named "Esther" using a photo of himself filtered through Snapchat's gender swap feature after learning that a female friend of his had been molested as a child.

"I was just looking to get someone," Ethan said. "He just happened to be a cop."

He contacted authorities last month after he and Davies started messaging one another.

Police said the pair began speaking May 11 on Tinder and that, after the conversation moved to Kik Messenger, Ethan told Davies that he was actually a 16-year-old girl claiming to be 19 to use Tinder. The dating site does not allow minors to create accounts.

"We started texting on there, and it got a lot more explicit," Ethan told KNTV.

Police said Davies acknowledged that “Esther” was 16 years old and that they “chatted about engaging in sexual activity” in subsequent conversations on Snapchat.

In a statement released last week, San Mateo police said Davies was placed on administrative leave in light of the ongoing investigation.

“This alleged conduct, if true, is in no way a reflection of all that we stand for as a department,” San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer said Thursday, adding that the alleged incident “is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole.”

Authorities continue to investigate.