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Online child porn traced to Wasilla man, troopers say

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published February 3, 2017

A monthslong case begun as an online sweep for child pornography linked to Alaskans has led to the arrest of a Wasilla man who allegedly used hidden cameras to record a girl showering in his bathroom.

Court records show Tyler Arlan Weis, 40, was charged with 13 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography, as well as two counts of viewing an indecent image or photography of a minor without the subject's consent.

The case against Weis began in October, when members of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Technical Crimes Unit and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force "identified an unknown suspect in Alaska regarding possession and distribution of child pornography."

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said the discovery was made during a "proactive" investigation, rather than one conducted in response to a report of criminal activity. Since ABI's first proactive case in March 2009, Peters said, similar investigations have led to "dozens" of arrests — more than 90 percent of them in Alaska.

In an affidavit against Weis, investigator Robert Bressler said Technical Crimes Unit members downloaded several explicit videos — including a 17-minute clip involving a "prepubescent juvenile girl" — through direct connections made to several IP addresses on file-sharing networks between Oct. 12 and Jan. 17. Those IP addresses had been issued by Mat-Su internet provider MTA to Weis.

According to Bressler, Weis admitted downloading child pornography on his laptop computer, and investigators seized the computer along with his iPhone. An examination of the devices discovered two video clips of females undressing in Weis' bathroom, one of which was taken through a hole in the wall using a hidden camera.

Bressler said Weis told investigators he used his laptop and iPhone to surreptitiously record one of the videos, which showed a teenage girl.

"Tyler stated he knew she was going to take a shower before placing the laptop and web camera in the bathroom," Bressler wrote. "Tyler also stated the girl was not aware she was being videotaped."

Peters said the number of proactive investigations ABI conducts each year "varies wildly" based on the bureau's current load of reactive casework, including cases investigated by troopers as well as cases in which ABI is asked for help by local law enforcement.

"Three ABI investigators hold responsibility for generating this type of proactive work, but an additional three investigators, a unit supervisor (sergeant) and two civilian technicians assist once a suspect has been identified," Peters wrote in an email.

Despite those shifts in duties, Peters said, the Weis case offered benefits to the public beyond an arrest.

"We were able to identify a victim that didn't even really know they were a victim," Peters said. "We do want to be proactive as much as we can — because if we can prevent someone from being victimized, then why wouldn't we?"

In addition to protecting children, Peters said, investigators' online forays to find child porn and track it back to Alaska suspects may have a deterrent effect on possession and distribution.

"One of the good things for people to know is that we do these types of things," Peters said. "Hopefully that's enough for people to know that they shouldn't do it."

If the Alaska investigators find illegal materials linked to a suspect from another state, they contact law-enforcement agencies in that state, Peters said.

Weis was being held Friday at the Goose Creek Correctional Center on $10,000 bail, according to a statewide inmate database.

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