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Found SD Card Leads To Child Porn Bust

Found SD Card Leads To Child Porn Bust

Oakdale Police tied a found SD card that had over 1,500 images and 150 videos of child pornography to Timothy Brian Werlhof of Oakdale. Werlhof admitted to downloading the images and putting other nude photos of an underage female on to the Internet. STANISLAUS COUNTY BOOKING PHOTO

POSTED May 23, 2014 2:11 p.m.
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A discarded or lost digital memory SD card led to the arrest of a 24-year-old Oakdale man for felony child pornography charges.

Oakdale Police reported that on May 8, a citizen reported finding an SD card while searching for recyclables in a dumpster behind the Yogurt Station on West F Street. The citizen loaded the card into his phone and saw that it contained images of child pornography and contacted the police.

Police coordinated with the High Tech Crimes Task Force in Ceres for forensic investigation of the card. The card was found to contain over 2,500 images and 150 videos of child pornography.

According to investigators, some of the images contained “selfies” of an individual along with the pornographic images.

Investigators were able to use forensic information from some of the “selfie” images to learn the area where the photos were taken. Also, police examined the photos and were able to identify the suspect based on Oakdale Police mug shots and the unique tattoos of the individual.

“When we brought up the pictures of this guy, Officer (Gary) Vanderheiden was able to recognize this guy based on his tattoos,” said Sergeant Joe Johnson. “We’ve had numerous contacts with this guy before.”

Police identified the suspect as Timothy Brian Werlhof, 24, of Oakdale.

Detective Bill Carter, with assistance from Ceres Police Detective Britton Moore of the task force, obtained a search warrant for Werlhof’s residence at an address in Lezlie Court in the city.

On Thursday, May 22, Oakdale Police and High Tech Crimes detectives served the search warrant on the suspect’s home. Werlhof wasn’t present at the time and officers recovered a computer and other electronic evidence.

When officers were clearing the scene, police received reports of a suspicious person wandering the grounds on the Sierra Baptist Church at 74 N. Lee Ave., directly behind Werlhof’s residence. Officers checked the area and found Werlhof on the grounds.

When officers questioned Werlhoff about the SD card and search warrant, he admitted to ownership of the card and agreed to accompany detectives to the Oakdale Police Station for further questioning.

Sergeant Johnson said that during questioning, Werlhof admitted to downloading child pornography images from the Internet and taking pictures of at least one nude female juvenile whose image was found on the card. Werlhof confessed to also uploading that juvenile’s pictures onto the Internet.

Johnson said police have identified the girl and have been in contact with her and her parents. She said the photo was taken without her knowledge. Police would not elaborate and said the investigation is continuing to determine if any additional illegal sexual acts occurred. Investigators are trying to identify several juveniles whose photos were on the SD card in non-pornographic poses to find out if they may also be victims. The investigation is ongoing.

Werlhof was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on three felony charges for possessing obscene matter depicting minors under the age of 14, production of photos of obscene matter depicting a child under 18 years, and distribution of those photos over the Internet.

He is being held in lieu of $50,000.

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