Norwalk police officer featured in new docuseries 'Undercover Underage'
A Norwalk police officer is being featured on a new Discovery+ docuseries that tracks down dangerous internet predators.
"Undercover Underage" follows Connecticut's Roo Powell and her nonprofit "Safe from Online Sex Abuse" as they identify and gather evidence. Norwalk Investigator Mark Suda is a consultant on the show, working with Powell and her team about the legal ramifications of their efforts.
Suda says he was on the fence about doing the show -- until he met Powell.
“Her passion and her drive to do this type of work is second to none,” he said.
Powell is a 38-year-old mother of three who plays the role of different 15-year-old girls, each a carefully crafted decoy persona.
“When we create a persona, it's like we're creating a person out of thin air,” she said on an upcoming episode. “The hair color and eye color really look different. And we have spent time building what a teenager's life might be. So, they have family and friends and hobbies."
The show is an exposé on the dangers underage teens encounter online. Suda says every “mom and dad in America should watch this show.”
“It definitely opened up my eyes,” he said. “I've been in law enforcement for 28 years. I thought I'd seen it all, done it all and what I've seen in this 10-week shoot just blew my mind. It's absolutely unbelievable.”
The show doesn't out any of the men who contact Powell's underage characters, instead it blurs out their faces and distorts their voices. Evidence from the team's work was turned over to law enforcement in several states, but Suda can't say how many arrests came from it.
"Undercover Underage" debuts on Discovery+ on Tuesday. It's a six-part series with a new episode each week.