Illinois uses electronic-sniffing dog for child porn cases

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An Illinois county prosecutor’s office is using an 18-month-old black Labrador to help detect a chemical in electronic devices that store images of child pornography.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office purchased Browser in November for $10,000 from Jordan Detection K-9, the Lake County News-Sun reported .

The Indiana-based company trained a similar dog that located a thumb drive in the case of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle, who was convicted of trading in child pornography.

“We were also seeing a trend here where child pornographers, rather than downloading evidence onto a computer, would download evidence onto a removable device and then hide that device in their house,” said Michael Nerheim, the state’s attorney. “When I heard about the use of the dog in the Fogle case, I thought this is something we should do here.”

Browser sits or whines when he sniffs the chemical used as a bonding agent in electronics, said Carol Gudbrandsen, the animal’s handler and a cybercrimes forensic analyst. The dog has detected SD cards in obscure places, including inside a slipper or a jewelry box.

“A lot of this digital evidence is not easily found,” she said. “By bringing the dog through, we’re able to find this kind of stuff.”

Browser has helped execute about a dozen search warrants, but he mainly focuses on child exploitation investigations.

“I still go out on search warrants, but instead of me manually looking for digital evidence, I bring Browser through and let him indicate when he finds it,” Gudbrandsen said.

The office didn’t cite any arrests or convictions that have resulted from Browser’s work.

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Information from: Lake County News-Sun, http://newssun.chicagotribune.com/

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