TACOMA — For nine months, detectives worked behind the scenes to find and charge 46 year-old Elwood Anderson. He is a man police say is one of the state’s biggest child pornography offenders.
In July, investigators seized two computers and a hard drive from Anderson’s Gig Harbor home but at first they couldn’t find the criminal images they knew were there.
Thanks to the work of a digital forensics team, detectives located 9,000 images of child porn and more than 200 videos. Most featured girls age four to nine being sexually assaulted by grown men. Finally, early Thursday morning, police arrested the software engineer at his home.
“He actually told a neighbor that he thought he wasn’t going to get caught because of the techniques he used and the expertise but of course he was,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Court documents show Anderson told a neighbor he’s addicted to child pornography and was glad he got caught so he didn’t have to hide it anymore.
Unfortunately, Anderson’s crime is disturbingly common. Investigators can hardly keep up with the number of offenders actively buying and trading child porn.
“When we monitor the activity, we’re looking at that person who shares the most files. There are so many folks out there doing it we have to go for the biggest players in the game. Focus our attention on that,” said Det. Jason Keays with the High Tech Crime Unit.
“He is absolutely a prolific downloader and it is good to have him off his computer and in custody,” said Lindquist.
Lindquist told us every one of these arrests is an important win, but admits the problem is bigger than people realize.
“I’m happy we got another person like this off the street. The downside is there are only three of us in our unit right now. We’re kind of a one man band with a problem that’s way bigger. We could use 30 people in our unit,” said Det. Keays.
If convicted, Anderson faces six to nine years in prison. A judge set his bail at $250,000 and ordered he have no contact with children, including his own four daughters.