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Illinois Man Forgot to Delete Child Porn from Pawned Computer

A Marquette Heights pedophile was sentenced to five years in prison for the possession of child pornography. He downloaded the illegal content from dark web child abuse sites and forgot to thoroughly clean his hard drive before selling his computer at a pawn shop in Pekin, Illinois.

A 24-year-old from the Illinois city of Marquette Heights named Alexander Krohn downloaded child pornography he had discovered on the dark web, Tazewell County officials announced earlier this year. On April 24, 2018, Krohn took his old computer to Pawn King in Pekin, Illinois. The laptop had been sitting in storage and he had forgotten about the contents of the computer’s hard drive, the police said after following up on a lead provided by an employee of the pawn shop who had been preparing the computer for sale at the pawn shop.

Not long after the man had dropped his computer off at the pawn shop, one of the employees at the pawn shop began the process of restoring the computer to as much of a “like new” state as possible. During the process, the employee accessed the computer’s hard drive. On the hard drive, the pawn shop employee discovered an unknown number of illegal pictures and videos, according to an affidavit filed in May of this year. Tazewell County law enforcement revealed very little about the nature of the investigation itself. The case itself was fairly cut and dry, especially due to the nature of the case and Krohn’s immediate admission of guilt. Even though pawn shop employees—like Best Buy employees—are required to report the discovery of child abuse content to law enforcement (usually the FBI), formatting a hard drive rarely requires a search for illegal pictures or videos.

The case shares general elements with the infamous United States of America v. Mark A. Rettenmaier case that led to the discovery that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation had been paying employees of Best Buy’s Geek Squad (as much as $500) to search customer hard drives for child abuse material. Rettenmaier, a former Orange County physician, dropped his HP Pavilion computer off at Best Buy for repairs in 2011 and the FBI raided him in 2012 for possession of child pornography. Even after years of courtroom drama and documented payments between the FBI and Geek Squad employees, the public still lacks a clear picture of how (or why) a Geek Squad employee fixing a startup issue had discovered child pornography in unallocated space on Rettenmaier’s hard drive.

Of course, Best Buy discloses that Geek Squad employees will report illegal or suspicious findings to law enforcement. But there is a legal line between accidental discoveries and directed searches conducted with forensic carving software. Citizens of the United States who are not on probation or parole have a reasonable right to privacy and warrantless searches are generally prohibited. Employees of Best Buy who received payments from the FBI to forensically search computers arguably violated the 4th Amendment Rights of thousands of Best Buy customers. Although Krohn’s case involved neither the FBI nor documented payments between the pawn shop and law enforcement, the same “how or why” question asked in the Rettenmaier case applies to the Krohn case—even without a 4th Amendment Right violation debate.

The pawn shop employee could have manually logged into Krohn’s computer in an attempt to initiate a reset from within the computer’s settings and, while navigating through settings, noticed image thumbnails on the computer’s desktop that depicted child abuse. That would, of course, required Krohn to have given the pawn shop the password to an old computer that had been sitting in Krohn’s storage. And facilities that handle thousands of computers a year have better methods of wiping a computer’s storage. Even the police needed “special law enforcement software” to discover “hundreds of movies and photos” that depicted minors under 18 and minors under 13 engaged in sexual activities.

Those details mattered very little, though; Krohn admitted he had downloaded child pornography from the dark web in 2016 and in 2017, and that he had stored the files on the computer. He told the police that he had forgotten about the contents of the hard drive when he sold the computer to the pawn shop. A Tazewell County court convicted him of possession of child pornography and a judge sentenced the man to five years in prison.

5 comments

  1. Amateur. Gerade best Way so Secure pc

  2. That’s why you have to destroy your hard drive if you are willing to resell your computer or to give it away. Regardless of the content in your HD there is some curious people that can find unexpected information.

  3. First, and foremost, fuck this guy! Hope he has fun looking over his shoulder for the next few years. What a slime ball, piece of shit person.

    In response to the comment by @SECUREMEN, are you trying to imply that you are a “professional” chomo? I would like to think otherwise, but the alternative interpretation is barely less uninspiring. Regardless of whether some thing is common, public knowledge, or not, shouldn’t we be more cognizant of the suggestions we make? Unless you support this lascivious conduct, you might want to reconsider how responsible it is to hint at software enabling (the safety of) said activities!

  4. I agree with The Adversary. Although that kind of info, I would assume, can help regular darknet users just the same as darknet pedos and so I don’t think it’s wholly inappropriate, I do however think a lot of people who comment here are pedophiles based on their responses to pedophilia articles and that just sickens me.

  5. As dumb as this case sounds , he was likely being honest. There are people that happen upon these sites and click on a few links . If he was a dedicated pedo , he would not even be using Windows . Much less leaving the shit on his computer .

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