SPECIAL REPORT: Combating cyber crime - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Combating cyber crime

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SHAWANO, Wis. (WAOW) -

As the digital era evolves, crimes of many varieties live - and grow - in the cyber world.

To combat the spread, the Shawano County Sheriff's Department has created a task force aimed to be proactive about stopping cyber criminals. 

"We target individuals who prey on children, usually in a virtual environment," Sgt. Gordon Kowaleski said.

"Individuals will go online to different websites and they will make contact with children - or who they believe to be children," Kowaleski said. "There will be talk of a sexual nature and then they will arrange to meet with that child."

The department has made 60 arrests since the task force began, including one just this month.

On July 4, detectives searched the home of Gerald Hoffman. The 50-year-old was charged with 11 counts of possessing child pornography. 

"With this type of investigation, my ultimate goal is to put an operation on lasting a week involving several officers and not making a single arrest," Kowaleski said. "That would at least tell me that I'm making a difference."

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