Greater Taunton police departments increase focus on cyber crime

As more criminals take to the Internet to search for victims, local police departments are being asked to do more in the world of cyber crime.

Easton police recently arrested a man for allegedly running an online real estate scam.

“This is the first of this type of crime that I’m aware of that we’ve handled,” Easton Police Chief Allen Krajcik said. “But we are definitely seeing more of it.”

Easton is part of a law enforcement consortium called METRO-LEC, but much of the work on the recent case was done by Easton Detective Sgt. John Lynn.

Lynn can do some of the work that HEAT does, like process cell phones.

Lynn came to the department with a degree in computer science and has always done this type of work as part of his job.

“Tools have gotten better over the years,” he said. “Digital evidence is involved in nearly every single crime these days.”

Another local department, in Raynham, has been in front of cyber issues since a former chief, Lou Pacheco, took a particular interest in the issue.

He started an outside company in 2001 called REACCT that handles Internet crime issues, although much of that work has now been incorporated back into the department. Large police departments such as Boston and Brockton used to bring work to REACCT.

“Departments have been forced to become more tech savvy,” said Tim Grabarz, a part-time Raynham police officer who deals with cyber crime.

“It think it’s always been there,” he said of cyber crime. “It’s become more pervasive because the Internet’s become larger and larger.”

He said that as demand grows, it behooves local departments to bring more of the computer forensics in-house.

“Labs are getting pretty jammed up, the turnaround times are getting larger and large,” Grabarz said.

How much tech work each department does in-house varies and often hinges on whether a town has an officer trained on and interested in computers.

If Bridgewater has to have a phone processed, the town sends it to the HEAT lab at the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department.

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