Authorities have arrested suspected of possessing child pornography who had reported last month that his barn had been burglarized, Merced County sheriff's officials said Tuesday.
Among the stolen property were CDs containing thousands of child pornography images, including photographs and movies.
Kraig Stockard, 54, reported Sept. 12 that someone burglarized his barn and had stolen some items, including propane tanks, cases of soda and tools from his home in the 13000 block of El Capitan Way in Delhi, said Merced County deputy Tom MacKenzie, a sheriff's spokesman.
MacKenzie said two teenage suspects burglarized Stockard's property and stole about 50 blank CDs. The suspects, a 17-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man, both from Delhi, said they thought they had stolen audio CDs.
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The burglary suspects took the CDs home and asked a relative to record music on them. MacKenzie said the relative placed the CDs into a computer and discovered child pornography.
After the photographs were discovered, the teenage suspects informed sheriff's officials. More than 30 of the 50 CDs contained child pornography, Mac-Kenzie said. Sheriff's officials also recovered the other items stolen from Stockard's home.
On Monday, Detectives Jose Sanchez and John Mussotto served a search warrant at Stockard's home. They were assisted by Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the High Tech Crimes Task Force.
The investigators found and seized three computers, three laptops and several external hard drives. On Tuesday, they still were examining the computer hardware, and MacKenzie said it's not known if the hardware contains other child pornography images.
He said Stockard first denied that the CDs were his, but later admitted to possessing the child pornography. Stockard, however, did not admit whether any child pornography images were on the computers and laptops.
Investigators said it appeared that Stockard had been downloading child pornography since 2004.
Stockard was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing child pornography. By Tuesday morning, he had been released from jail after posting $25,000 bail, MacKenzie said.
The names of the teenage burglary suspects were not released, but their case has been sent to the Merced County district attorney's office for prosecutors to review.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.