Arrest after computer store spots child pornography

A 51-year-old truck driver, who resides on US-1 in Bunnell, took his computer to a Palm Coast computer repair shop on October 1, 2010, signed the repair contract, and left; only to return five minutes later because he said “he needed to delete some files”.

The storeowner said he observed Merle Shamblin spent about 30 minutes pulling up images and deleting files, including images of naked young girls.

Larry Gross, owner of Net FxPro Computers, called the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office as soon as Shamblin left the store. Based on a sworn statement from Gross about what he had observed, Sheriff’s Detective Jennifer Taylor obtained a search warrant for the computer, which underwent a forensic examination of all of its files — even those that had been deleted.

A search of image files on Shamblin’s computer hard drive, revealed more than 928 images of child pornography; although some of the images were duplicates.

Armed with the results of the examination, Detective Kim Davis was able to obtain a warrant for Shamblin’s arrest; charging 40 counts of possession of child pornography; however, for nearly two years, no one has been able to locate Merle Shamblin — until today.

Shamblin was attempting to deliver cargo into Canada this morning when border patrol agents in Alexandria Bay, New York learned of the Flagler County warrant and placed him under arrest.

Shamblin now faces extradition back to Flagler County to answer the charges. Bond is set at $400,000.

“The only way to eliminate the demand for such filth is to identify the users and put them away,” said Flagler County Sheriff Donald W. Fleming. “Hopefully, Mr. Shamblin will not have access to a computer for a long time.”

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