Iowa Man Takes His Gravy-Stained Laptop For Repair, Gets Arrested for Child Porn

A man spilled gravy on his laptop and took it for repair to Best Buy. He asked his files to be transferred to a new computer. However, as workers started to recover the data, they found images of child pornography.

On August 11, 2018, the man, identified as Robert Watson, 54, of Des Moines, took his gravy-spilled laptop to a local Best Buy asking for help to transfer his files to a new computer.

Best Buy Store. | Photo: Shutterstock

Best Buy Store. | Photo: Shutterstock

The computer technicians at the store, also known as the ‘geek squad,’ were in for a surprise, as they found multiple images that they believed contained child pornography.

“During this file transfer process employees at Best Buy 'Geek Squad' observed multiple images they believed contained child pornography," said the complaint acquired by BuzzFeed News. "Once this transfer was complete Des Moines police collected both computers as evidence.”

Cyber Crime concept. | Photo: Shutterstock

Cyber Crime concept. | Photo: Shutterstock

Eight months after the incident took place, a warrant arrest was placed for Watson.

On an interview with investigators, Robert said that he was the only person who used the password-protected laptop.

He also described some of the images found on the laptop and admitted he labeled the files as “13 year old” and “14 year old’s,” according to police.

“Robert advised that he downloaded the images because he wanted to tell other people about them," police said.

Watson was arrested on Tuesday and charged with ten counts of possession of child pornography. He is being held at the Polk County Jail on a bond of $50,000.

Is not clear if he has entered a plea, but a spokesperson for Iowa's Office of the State Public Defender told BuzzFeed News it had been appointed to defend Watson, but that no attorney had yet been assigned to the case.

Group of kids in rainboots. | Photo: Shutterstock

Group of kids in rainboots. | Photo: Shutterstock

Finding child porn on computers is not a new feat for the Best Buy geek squad.

According to Paula Baldwin, public relations director for the company, the employees discover apparent child pornography on customers' computers nearly 100 times each year.

"They don’t search for the material, but inadvertently discover it in the normal course of repairing a computer," she explained.

Laptop with open mail. | Photo: Shutterstock

Laptop with open mail. | Photo: Shutterstock

And continued:

"When we do find what appears to be child pornography, we have a legal obligation to notify law enforcement, and we inform our customers of this prior to doing any work. Law enforcement determines a course of action based on the evidence, as they did in this situation."

Child pornography possession is classified as a Class III felony, and it comes with at least one year in prison. The maximum penalty for a Class III felony is 20 years in jail and/or a $25,000 fine.

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