NEW YORK - POLICE used the ultimate bait in trying to capture online perverts - Miss America.
The beauty queen posed as a 14-year-old girl as part of an undercover operation to target sexual predators in the US.
Lauren Nelson, 20, posed as the teen and logged into chatrooms frequented by men hoping to meet underage girls for sex.
Police had created an online profile of a 14-year-old girl that included photographs of Nelson as a teenager.
And the "sting" was a success, with four men later arrested and a further six under investigation.
Nelson posed as a girl from Long Island, New York. She said it didn't take long for some men to make explicit suggestions while they talked online.
With police monitoring the "chats", Nelson agreed to meet the men at a house in Long Island.
Film crews from the TV show America's Most Wanted were also at the scene to film the arrests.
Nelson said: "The story was they knew I was 14 and I told them I was cutting school to meet with them.
"I stood outside on the porch and I would say 'Hi' to them and wave them inside."
Nelson said as soon as she went into the house, the host of the TV show John Walsh confronted the suspects.
She said: "That part was very scary but the police were all over the place. I was nervous, of course, but it was a very controlled environment, very safe."
Nelson was crowned Miss America last month. She took over from Tara Conner, 21, who was almost sacked from the role after admitting taking drugs.
The beauty queen, whose platform issue is internet safety for children, said: "As many as we caught on that day, there are a lot more out there."