New Resources Emerge in the Fight Against Online Predators

Bedford Co., VA - Virginia's Attorney General announced $750,000 from a Medicare fraud settlement will be spent to expand a computer lab to process evidence in cases against sexual predators who go after children.

"It really doesn't care. It gets everything for us," Forensic Examiner Sgt. Kevin Davis.

Inside a new forensics lab, Sgt. Kevin Davis with the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force uses a device to pull every last picture, text, and email off of a cell phone.

"This is one of the standard tools. It's actually used worldwide," Davis said.

Expect to see one inside the new mobile forensic crime lab being purchased by the Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced this week, he's also quadrupling the size of the existing lab at his office in Richmond.

"We prioritize this area because it is unarguably one of the top priorities we have to protect the children of Virginia," Cuccinelli said.

"We know that will be a resource," Lt. Mike Harmony, the ICAC Task Force Leader said.

Harmony heads up our local task force and applauds the effort to bring more equipment into the fight against predators.

"On some of our search warrants, we've walked out with as many as 300 to 500 pieces of evidence," Harmony said. "With a mobile unit, you can actually triage it on scene, make a determination that you don't need it and not have to take it with you."

"When we have evidence that a person may have been victimizing children locally, we will start the processing effort on the rest of that computer, but now we know we've got enough evidence to hold them," Cuccinelli said.

Since their lab equipment is funded with grant money, our local ICAC team is only allowed to process evidence in child sexual exploitation cases.

While the cases are the top priority for the Attorney General's office, its lab can be used in other types of crimes, including going after gang members on social networks and fraud cases.

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