Local News

Cary cybercrimes unit helps with Apex bust

Posted May 16, 2011 6:07 p.m. EDT
Updated May 19, 2011 6:57 p.m. EDT

— The Cary Police Department is reaching beyond its borders to crack down on crime.

The department's cybercrimes unit is credited with the arrest of a former civilian employee of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol accused of possessing child pornography.

James Warren Taylor, 45, of 1029 Manderston Lane in Apex, was arrested May 5 on 20 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, police said. He was being held Thursday in the Wake County jail under an $800,000 bond.

The Highway Patrol said Taylor was dismissed from his job in the Technical Support Division after an internal investigation into unauthorized and misuse of a state computer.

The charges stem from a joint investigation between the Cary and Apex police departments that revealed the receipt and possession of child pornography, authorities said. 

"People feel like they are doing this in the privacy of their home, but what they don't realize is we're watching," said Capt. Mike Williams, who leads the Cary cybercrimes unit. 

Williams said the unit has undercover investigative software that alerts them when someone is surfing the Internet for child porn. The technology allows detectives to connect to a person's computer, even if that person doesn't live in Cary. They then trace it back to a specific arrest.

"You will never know that we are on to you until we knock on the door with a search warrant to seize every piece of digital evidence in your house," Williams said. 

In applying for a warrant to search Taylor's home, Apex and Cary police described the peer-to-peer networks on which child pornography is sometimes shared and how they tracked the specific Internet Protocol, or IP, address from Taylor's computer. They described explicit video files officers knew to be on his computer.

According to a search warrant, the files included pictures and videos of children who looked as young as 5 years old engaging in sex acts with adults. 

Officers seized five computers from Taylor's home and six external storage drives.

Neighbors said Taylor lived at the home with his wife and two young children.