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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wilder, Scott

Director of Communications 
News Date: 5/1/2014 

 Operation Guardian Angel 


 

On Tuesday, April 29th and Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, PCSO Computer Crimes detectives conducted a two-day undercover operation named “Operation Guardian Angel” that focused on those who promote, possess, or engage in the distribution of child pornography. During the investigation, detectives served multiple search warrants and made seven arrests for the possession of child pornography – one of those arrests was of an out-of-state suspect who had Polk County charges. The investigation also led detectives to two suspects who also engaged in sexually battering children, resulting in additional charges for one of the child pornography suspects, and the arrest of another suspect for sexual abuse of a child. Another suspect was charged for failing to report child abuse.  In all, detectives made 9 arrests during this investigation.

“We are committed to protecting our children from those who possess and distribute child pornography. These men are a part of a worldwide underground child pornography distribution system – the demand for this vile material harms children, and ruins lives.” – Sheriff Grady Judd 

1.            A search warrant was executed at the home of Larry Bencar, DOB 4/10/1945, at 4222 Simms Road in Lakeland, in reference to someone at that address using an IP address and the Internet at that address, sharing images of child pornography. During an on-scene search of Bencar’s computer, detectives located at least 11 images or videos of child pornography. At least one of the images depicted a child under the age of 5 years old being sexually battered. Bencar, who is married, told detectives he is retired from the U.S. Department of Treasury, where he was a computer programmer. He then requested an attorney. He was placed under arrest and charged with 11 counts Possession of Images Depicting Sexual Performance by a Child (FSS 297.071), a 2nd Degree Felony. The investigation is ongoing, pending a thorough forensic examination of Bencar’s computer, and he may face more charges. His criminal history includes an arrest in 1997 in Fresno, California for Stalking and Burglary. 

2.            A search warrant was executed at the home of Joseph Carberg, DOB 11/17/1950, at 5650 New Tampa Hwy in Lakeland, in reference to someone at that address using an IP address and the Internet at that address, sharing images of child pornography. Carberg told detectives he has been viewing child pornography since 2010, and that he knew why detectives were at his home. He said he prefers pre-teen girls, when viewing child pornography. He was placed under arrest and charged with 40 counts Possession of Images Depicting Sexual Performance by a Child (FSS 297.071), a 2nd Degree Felony. The investigation is ongoing, pending a thorough forensic examination of Carberg’s computer, and he may face more charges. 

3.            A search warrant was executed at the home of Keith Crump, DOB 7/31/1968, at 1880 Crystal Lake Drive #44 in Lakeland, in reference to a tip that someone at that address was attempting to share child pornography via email. Crump admitted to detectives he has been viewing child pornography for several years, and that the age of the youngest child he has viewed was 4 years old or younger. Crump told detectives he was trying to share images of child pornography with his friend, Tavis Bell (see below for his charges). Crump told detectives he is employed as a registered nurse for the Florida Department of Health.

Crump further admitted to having sex with two juvenile boys. Detectives identified the victims and additionally charged Crump. He was placed under arrest and charged with: one count Promoting Sexual Performance of a Child (FSS 827.071(3)), a 2nd Degree Felony; one count Possession of Images Depicting Sexual Performance by a Child (FSS 827.071(5)), a 3rd Degree Felony; 2 counts Sexual Battery on a Victim Under 12 years of age (FSS 794.011(2)(a)), a Capital Felony; 2 counts Lewd Exhibition on a Victim Under 16 years of age (FSS 800.04(7)(a)), a 2nd Degree Felony; 2 counts Lewd Battery (FSS 800.04(4)(a)), a 2nd Degree Felony; and 2 counts Lewd Molestation on a Victim Under 16 years of age (FSS 800.04(5)(C)(2)), a 2nd Degree Felony. The investigation is ongoing, pending a thorough forensic examination of Crump’s computer, and he may face more charges.

4.            During the post-Miranda interview of Keith Crump, detectives identified Tavis Bell, DOB 3/4/1974, of 203 Keystone Road in Auburndale, as a suspect who engages in sexually battering children, two juvenile boys under the age of 16 years old, along with Keith Crump. Bell was placed under arrest and charged with 7 counts Sexual Battery on Victim under 18 years old (FSS 794.011(8)(a)), a 3rd Degree Felony; 2 counts Lewd Exhibition on a Victim Under 16 years of age (FSS 800.04(7)(a)), a 2nd Degree Felony; and 2 counts Negligent Child Abuse (FSS 827.03(2)(d)), a 3rd Degree Felony. The investigation is ongoing. 

5.            During the investigation of Crump and Bell, detectives identified Crump’s partner and roommate, Timothy Peargin, DOB 4/20/1960, of 1880 Crystal Lake Drive North #44 in Lakeland, as having knowledge of the sexual abuse of the children and the distribution of child pornography, and failing to report it. Peargin told detectives he has been in a relationship with Crump for approximately six years, and has known about the child pornography for approximately four years. Peargin is the organist and choir director at St. David’s Episcopal Church on Edgewood Drive in Lakeland. Peargin told detectives he suspected there might be sexual abuse of children at the residence and knew he should have reported it, and the child pornography, to the police but was giving Crump “one more chance to never do that again.” He was arrested and charged with one count Failing to Report Child Abuse (FSS 39.205(1)), a 3rd Degree Felony. His criminal history includes an arrest in 1991 in California for Lewd & Lascivious Act with a Child under 14 Years of Age, and in 1983 for Petty Theft. 

6.            A search warrant was executed at the home of Dennis Swecker, DOB 11/25/1955, at 1510 Hillside Drive in Mulberry, in reference to someone at that address using an IP address and the Internet at that address, sharing images of child pornography. Swecker told detectives he has been viewing child pornography for “quite a few years” and uses peer-to-peer programs to download it. He was placed under arrest and charged with one count Promoting Sexual Performance of a Child (FSS 827.071(3)), a 2nd Degree Felony; and 11 counts Possession of Images Depicting Sexual Performance by a Child (FSS 827.071(5)), a 3rd Degree Felony. The investigation is ongoing, pending a thorough forensic examination of Swecker’s computer, and he may face more charges. His criminal history includes an arrest in 1994 by PCSO for Battery Domestic Violence. 

7.            A search warrant was executed at the home of Brian Mitchell, DOB 11/6/1993, at 28920 US Hwy 27 in Dundee. The home is also used as a psychic business. PCSO received a tip that someone at the address was sharing child pornography online. Mitchell admitted to detectives that he has been downloading and viewing child pornography. He was placed under arrest and charged with one count  Promoting Sexual Performance of a Child (FSS 827.071(3)), a 2nd Degree Felony; and 60 counts Possession of Images Depicting Sexual Performance by a Child (FSS 827.071(5)), a 3rd Degree Felony. The investigation is ongoing, pending a thorough forensic examination of Mitchell’s computer, and he may face more charges. 

8.            A search warrant was executed at the home of Gonzalo Cardona, DOB 6/3/1980, at 221 Madina Circle in Davenport, in reference to someone at that address using an IP address and the Internet at that address, sharing images of child pornography. During an on-scene investigation of the computer located there, detectives located approximately 40 images and videos depicting the sexual performance of a child less than 5 years old. Cardona is currently in military technical training in Virginia, and detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, for 40 counts Possession of Images Depicting Sexual Performance by a Child (FSS 827.071(5)), a 3rd Degree Felony. He was taken into custody at Fort Eustis, Virginia, on the Polk County warrant, and PCSO detectives will interview him there. 

9.            A search warrant was executed at the home of Peter Buckley, DOB 10/8/1976, at 9 Forest Drive in Davenport, in reference to someone at that address using an IP address and the Internet at that address, sharing images of child pornography. Buckley told detectives that he has been downloading and viewing child pornography for the past couple of years, and that the images are of children as young as 4-5 years old. He estimated that he had between 100-150 images on his computer and/or thumb drive. He was placed under arrest and charged with 40 counts Possession of Images Depicting Sexual Performance by a Child (FSS 827.071(5)), a 3rd Degree Felony. The investigation is ongoing, pending a thorough forensic examination of Buckley’s computer, and he may face more charges. 

During this investigation, our detectives located at least 200 images of children in sexually explicit poses, children being sexually abused, and children being directed to perform sex acts. Sadly, we know there are thousands more victims out there.  We are going to hold those accountable who harm our children.” – Sheriff Grady Judd