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Sahuarita Police working with Google to track down suspect who threatened high school

TUCSON – New details were released this week on a threat made earlier this month to Sahuarita High School.

Sahuarita Police said a threat was posted on the YouTube channel for Walden Grove High School’s PAC Dance Team on Sept. 8. After that post was made extra security was provided at the school’s open house. While there was no incident that night, it hasn’t stopped the Sahuarita Police Department from going after the online culprit. But finding a suspect who uses a keyboard to spread fear requires a very different kind of investigation.

The Walden Grove PAC Dance Team became a national sensation after appearing on NBC’s America’s got talent. While they did not make it to the final rounds the PAC Dance Team’s videos have remained popular on their YouTube channel.

Court documents show the threat was made by an account profile named “Don’t Care”, the comment made on the homecoming dance video said: ” It’s all fun and games until the school shooter shows up.”

Lt. Sam Almodova, with the Sahuarita Police Department, said the first step for police to track down a suspect was requesting a search warrant for Google, the company that owns YouTube, where the threat was posted.

“The judge writes an order up that we can have the information we need from these agencies,” said Almodova. “We submit them through a portal, we scan in the warrant, the warrant then gets sent through the portal to the law enforcement portion of these companies. Once these get them we are at their mercy.”

Almodova said from that point it can take anywhere from days or even months, depending on the urgency of the request, but eventually they get the information that they need to find the criminal behind the keyboard.

“For the most part we are able to find the people that are hiding behind their keyboard,” Almodova said. “They may get away with it at first, one or two times but eventually they get caught.”

A person can be charged for making an on-line threat under arizona’s threatening or intimidating statute. The actual charges range from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony, depending on the severity of the threat.

Those convicted could receive anywhere from up to six months in jail or 1 to five years in prison and possibly thousands of dollars in fines.

Sean Mooney

Sean Mooney is cohost of Tucson Today, Monday-Friday 5-7 am.

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