TBPS Cyber Crime Unit’s Investigation Exposes Local Catfishing Scheme Targeting Youths
Thunder Bay – NEWS – A thorough investigation by the Thunder Bay Police Service’s (TBPS) Cyber Crime Unit has led to the arrest of a Thunder Bay man on several charges related to the online luring of minors.
On April 4, 2022, the TBPS Cyber Crime Unit became aware of a local internet user suspected of employing catfishing techniques to lure and potentially groom young individuals online. Catfishing involves the use of a fictional online persona to deceive others.
Through diligent and ongoing investigative efforts, law enforcement was able to identify a suspect involved in these activities.
On June 9, 2022, with support from the Community Oriented Response and Engagement Unit, members of the Cyber Crime Unit executed a search warrant at a residential address situated in the 600 block of Vale Crescent. As a result of this search, electronic devices were seized for further examination.
During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that the accused had assumed the identity of an existing person and had distributed intimate images of that individual without their consent. Additionally, evidence was uncovered revealing the accused’s involvement in luring youths under the age of 16 years old.
The TBPS Break and Enter and Robbery (BEAR) Unit took the accused into custody on Wednesday, May 10.
William HEIDRICK, a 31-year-old Thunder Bay resident, is facing the following charges:
- Distribute Intimate Image Without Consent (x4)
- Luring Person Under 16 Years of Age by Means of Telecommunication
- Make Sexually Explicit Material Available to a Person Under 16 Years of Age
- Making Child Pornography
- Personate With Intent
- Fail to Comply with Probation Order
Heidrick appeared in bail court on Thursday, May 11, and has been remanded into custody with a future court appearance scheduled.
To report any suspicions or concerns regarding the online victimization of children, please reach out to Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tipline dedicated to reporting online sexual exploitation of children. For more information on addressing child victimization, visit Cybertip.ca. It is crucial to stay vigilant and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.