A 36 year old man, James William Thomas III has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for eliciting more than 5,000 images of child pornography.
He has abused nearly 200 girls online until he was arrested on a series of unsolved burglaries involving missing Pop Tarts and a 1,000-piece puzzle led investigators to a single-wide mobile home near the North Carolina border.
“The facts of the case paint the picture of a true sexual predator,” prosecutors said in sentencing documents. “The defendant sought out potentially almost 200 victims, lied to them, groomed them, and abused and exploited them to gratify his own sexual lust.”
The case against Thomas dates to 2014, when a fed-up lawyer in Franklin, Virginia, paid a retired cop to stake out his practice overnight following the burglary of a rare coin shop next door, court documents state. CLAIM OFFER
The robber had cut a hole in the lawyer’s roof to get access to the coin shop, and he believed the person might return.
The break-in was one of several that years in Southampton County, just over the border from North Carolina in Virginia. A few months before, prosecutors said, a man reported at least 38 items were stolen from his second home in Southampton — everything from binoculars and paper towels to granola bars and Pop Tarts.
“The items taken ranged from typical targets of burglary — high value and easily transportable items such as televisions, electronics, cash, and firearms — to very odd unusual items that were ‘large, cumbersome, low-value items, or low value for the effort, and minuscule, small, low-value household items’ such as refrigerators and toiletries,” the judge said in court filings.
On the night of the stake out, the burglar did return to the lawyer’s place. In his possession were several new DeWalt tools reported missing from the man’s second home in Southampton County and bearing his name, prosecutors said.