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Computer Repair Trip Nets Flagler Truck Driver 40 Counts of Child Pornography

| April 19, 2012

Merle Shamblin (FCSO)

When Bunnell resident Merle Shamblin attempted to cross into Canada this morning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested him on a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office warrant charging him with 40 counts of child pornography.

Agents in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., a border town near the I-81 crossing, took the 51-year-old truck driver in to custody as he attempted to pass through the border to deliver the goods he was hauling. Shamblin, who lives on U.S. Highway 1 in Bunnell, faces extradition back to Flagler County.

Shamblin’s troubles started when he took his computer in to a Palm Coast repair shop on Oct. 1, 2010. After he signed the repair contract, Shamblin left, but returned about five minutes later and told the store owner that he needed to delete some files.

Larry Gross, owner of Net Fx Pro Computers, told deputies that Shamblin worked on the computer for about 30 minutes. Gross said during that time he saw images of naked young girls. When Shamblin finally left the shop, Gross called the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Jennifer Taylor obtained a search warrant for the computer which was then transported to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. There a forensic computer expert inspected the computer and found more than 928 images of child porn. Shamblin was charged with 40 counts since some of the images were duplicates.

When the Seminole sheriff’s office report came back, Detective Kim Davis was able to obtain the arrest warrants, but had been unable to locate Shamblin, until his arrest this morning. Bond on the charges is set at $400,000.

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

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18 Responses for “Computer Repair Trip Nets Flagler Truck Driver 40 Counts of Child Pornography”

  1. Sherry Epley says:

    Thank you, computer repair shop owner, Larry Gross! You most certainly did the the right thing by contacting the authorities! You should be recognized and commended in some way for stepping up to protect our children and our society!

  2. Jim R says:

    I am not defending child pornography,, it is child abuse and producers of such filth should be put away. However it seems to me that making it a crime to view it could be considered a thought crime and where do you draw the line about what we can see and what we can be prosecuted for?
    Suppose in the near future, viewing political web sites that might be considered detrimental to the aims of the state becomes an offense punishable by imprisonment.
    How is that different than this.
    Try to remember my first line above before answering.

  3. Howard Duley says:

    I agree that you must identify the users and put them away. Now, wouldn’t that same attitude also apply to all the criminals charged with a crime. Most of them end up on probation especially if you have some position in this world. Real deserved punishment only applies to the masses who have no clout.

  4. Mitch Cohen says:

    Great job Mr.Gross these kind of people put our children at risk. Nothing good comes out of people who view or publish child pornography. I hope the State of Florida does their job now. I also believe that you should be recognized and commended in some way for stepping up to the plate. How many of us just turn our head. We are PROUD of you !!

  5. just me says:

    Get’em Larry Good Job buddy

  6. Jojo says:

    I don’t want to get off on a rant here but I find both, downloading child pornography on one’s computer disgusting and evil but on the other side of the same coin, the infringement of one’s personal property an illegal search and seizure. Of course, the defendant has no reasonable expectation of privacy when he brought his computer for repair and openly viewed by a repairman (similar to the open view Doctrine).

    What is troubling me here is the extent at which the government will go to discover deviance on one’s computer, namely in one’s home. How far will agents of the government go in their witch hunt to discover evil suspects among us in society. Are judges in the near future going to allow warrants or warrant-less searches of suspects based on the whims of their neighbors.

    In Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986)

    The dissent, authored by Harry Blackmun, framed the issue as revolving around the right to privacy. Blackmun’s dissent accused the Court of an “almost obsessive focus on homosexual activity” and an “overall refusal to consider the broad principles that have informed our treatment of privacy in specific cases.” In response to invocations of religious taboos against homosexuality, Blackmun wrote: “That certain, but by no means all, religious groups condemn the behavior at issue gives the State no license to impose their judgments on the entire citizenry. The legitimacy of secular legislation depends, instead, on whether the State can advance some justification for its law beyond its conformity to religious doctrine.”[3]

    Seventeen years after Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court directly overruled its decision in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), and held that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional. In overruling Bowers v. Hardwick, the 2003 Court stated that “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today.”

    So, this big caper or big fish the Flagler County Sheriffs Office has caught (on the Canadian border) must be extradicted to Flagler County to be prosecuted for Child Pornography. What happens to his truck or cargo if the trailer is loaded. Who is going to pay for all the costs of extradition.

    Yes, child pornography is deviant and the person(s) needs help but are we getting into unchartered areas of a police state that will erode individual freedom of privacy. You could be next?

  7. Nancy N. says:

    Frankly it’s terrifying and horrifying to me to read members of the Flagler Live community defending IN ANY WAY the ability of people to view child porn.

  8. jespo says:

    You’re off base here. The employee saw pictures of naked young girls and suspected something. It was only the right thing to do to investigate and hence searching the hard drive. If child porn is suspected then all doors, windows, and walls need to be broken down to get to the truth…the punishment of the pig involved is more important at that moment, at least to anyone who gives a damn about kids. I’m the last person to ‘give up’ my rights but I’ll gladly step aside for law enforcement if they’re going after some piece of shit like this. Kudos to the FCSO!

  9. Jim R. says:

    Nobody is defending viewing child porn. You should be terrified of how easy these kind of laws can be turned into persecuting anyone who disagrees with the Govts. policies. Trying to police private behavior and thoughts is not the business of the govt, no matter how disgusting it is.
    The people that produce and sell child porn are the criminals, and that’s where the efforts to eliminate it should be focused.
    Another thing worth considering is how easy it is to frame someone by downloading porn onto a computer.

  10. palmcoaster says:

    I sure believe that any viewing or addiction to child or any kind of porn in despicable…but I also believe that the entities producing that porno should be properly fined prosecuted whatever to stop them. This is something that will not take place because of the freedom of expression, their lobby and their legal teams. Then how come viewers of that despicable produced material can be punished so hard (400,000 bail) simply because they do not have the powerful lobby or legal teams? There is a double standard?. I also agree that taking one’s computer for repair encloses a very high risk of violation of our private information contained in that computer wether, financial, work, personal or whatever. Very concerning.

  11. Dorothea says:

    I was doing a research paper on Allice Miller, PhD, child psychologist and author of numerous books on deviance. I had some problems with my computer and brought it to Larry Gross. Larry didn’t fix my computer, but he did search my computer and erased all of my Alice Miller files. Apparently, in his opinion, they were pornographic material. Sure glad he didn’t turn me in to the sheriff..

    • androidcatdog says:

      YOUR freedom is at risk. YOU must remove YOUR OWN hard drive before taking it to a computer repair shop. If this is too complicated, you MUST buy a new computer and destroy the old one. Do not sell it nor give it away. The government/law enforcement do not care if you are innocent. The makers/producers/distributors of child porn should be burned alive. See 8MM with Nicolas Cage.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    Larry Gross from Net FX Pro computers just moved his Palm Coast store to Ormond and … no address yet to be found…anyone knows the location? If so, please provide it here.
    http://www.palmcoast.biz/portal/show_entry.asp?TYP=1&EntryID=2577
    Find it peculiar to say the least.

  13. Jojo says:

    @ Dorothea
    Good example of being innocently framed. What gives him the right to delete all your hard work on research of the subject. He has appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. He might find himself describing what he saw on the witness stand and being cross examined in a civil lawsuit if he keeps that up.

  14. palmcoaster says:

    @Jespo and others here. Does anyone know who provides the computer services for the Flagler County Sheriff? Is a public record…just wondering.

  15. Dorothea says:

    @Jojo, thanks. Fortunately I had saved what I needed to an external hard drive. Maybe he didn’t like my file names which included “beatenchildren” and similar names or maybe he didn’t like Dr. Miller’s paintings. http://www.alice-miller.com/gallery/index.htm
    Now if my computer goes bad I either completely erase the hard drive and start over or I toss it. But I’ll never leave it anywhere for repairs again.

  16. Jojo says:

    @Dorothea, when you think of it, LG (Net FX Pro) is acting like an agent or extension of the government (FCSO) by handing over the fruits of evidence on a “Silver Platter”.

    So, does LG have an obligation (by law) to turn these fruits over to law enforcement or is their a client/professional relationship that exists which is violated. I don’t see any person staying in business that does. He could spend more time testifying on the stand then he does working on computers.

    My point being is that you can’t legislate morality in one’s home. We don’t have the resources and I am a firm believer that one’s home is his castle.

  17. Local Parent says:

    Curious, Is this the same guy who the teachers aide went to? Seems a little fishy

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