(PresidentialWire.com)- A local news anchor from the Elmira, New York NBC affiliate was placed on leave and ultimately fired after he got snared in one of those “predator hunter” stings targeting pedophiles.
A citizen group called “607 Predator Hunters” posted a video on YouTube showing WETM-TV anchorman Zach Wheeler whom the group claims drove three hours to meet up with someone he believed was a 15-year-old boy.
When the station learned of the video, it released a Facebook statement on Saturday saying Wheeler would remain off the air until management had investigated and resolved the situation. WETM stated that no criminal charges had been filed against Wheeler in connection to the YouTube video.
But on Monday, WETM released a follow-up statement on Facebook saying after investigating the “questions raised by the video,” Wheeler had been fired from the station.
Wheeler had been WETM’s anchor since 2018 and was made news director in February of this year.
In the video, Wheeler was confronted by the group at a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Vestal, New York where he denied being there to engage in sex with a boy. Wheeler argued that he was a Christian and all he was doing was talking to “this kid to get him off of these apps.”
Wheeler denied being a pedophile, accused the predator hunters of targeting gays and lesbians, then even offered them money ostensibly to help them find more predators.
Watch the video HERE.
On Monday, “607 Predator Hunters” posted an update to its Facebook page announcing that the information it obtained had been turned over to state police.
However, according to Heavy.com, the New York State Police have not commented on whether an investigation is underway and no charges against Zach Wheeler have been filed.
The Elmira Star-Gazette spoke with the NYS Police public information officer for Troop C which includes Broome County where the sting took place, who said she was aware of the video but was not aware that anything had been turned over to the state police.