by Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent
For our ninth "To Catch A Predator" investigation, we're set up in a large brick house in an upper middle class subdivision in Murphy, Texas-- a bedroom community outside of Dallas. It will turn out to be one of the most challenging environments in which we've ever worked.
First off, it's the weekend before election day and one of the most high-profile campaign issues in the race for Texas Attorney General is cracking down on computer predators. In fact as we're putting the finishing touches on our hidden camera house, we see the campaign commercial running virtually every 10 minutes showing an Internet predator being hauled away from his computer by police and put under arrest. If that's not a deterrent, I don't know what is.
But, the next thing we know, Del and Frag from Perverted-Justice are telling us our first visitor is just moments away. He's a businessman who owns, among other things a fast food restaurant. He's not sure about coming inside the house though and instead wants to drop off a Web cam for our decoy so that she can perform a sexually suggestive act.
Just moments before he's due to arrive, there is another challenge. The audio board, the piece of equipment our sound technician uses to control all of the microphones, goes dead. That means we have gone from something like 10 microphones to 2. And the one wireless microphone on our decoy is dodgy at best. As she walks out to the front porch to talk to the potential predator, she is at the outer range of the receiver. As you'll see, we get through it all and ultimately scramble to get another audio board.
But there are more surprises.
For the first time, we have neighbors in the area walk by the house unhappy with the fact that there is an investigation going on. Usually the neighbors are passing chocolate chip cookies to us over the back fence. Here in Murphy, a city council member was apparently upset that the police chief did not inform him of the investigation in advance. He rallied some neighbors to parade outside our house. This obviously would have been an inconvenient time to have one of our guys show up.
Within an hour things calmed down and we resumed. (Police tell us that later, after they gave an explanation as to exactly how the investigation was being conducted, some neighbors who were initially skeptical were more supportive.) In spite of all this, 25 men were caught in our hidden camera investigation. And as you'll see -- they come from all walks of life including some surprising professions.
The investigation in Murphy, Texas airs tonight 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC. Click here for a video preview of some of the men we met there.