The Will County Sheriff’s Office, Investigation Unit, is announcing the arrest of Joseph T. Balding Jr., age 29, of 1018 Shagbark Road in New Lenox. Sheriff’s detectives received a cyber-tip on March 1, 2021 from the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). The tip was related to a New Lenox individual who was potentially sharing and uploading multiple images and videos of child pornography.
Sheriff’s detectives began an investigation that led them to the identity of Joseph Balding. Balding was brought in for questioning where he made several statements implicating himself. A search warrant of his residence was conducted on March 18th. Several electronic devices were collected and forensically analyzed. Upon completion of the investigation, an arrest warrant was secured and Balding was taken into custody by detectives.
Balding was charged with six counts of possession of child pornography. His bond was set at $100,000 (10% to apply).
This morning, the Will County Sheriff’s Office took Ian Knutsen into custody at his home without incident. Knutsen is 19 years of age and resides at 323 Poplar Lane in New Lenox. The Sheriff’s office served a warrant that was issued yesterday for two counts of child pornography. Knutsen is being held at the Adult Detention Facility on a $50,000 bond (10% to apply).
The child pornography charges stem from an investigation that began early last year after detectives received a cyber-tip from the Attorney General’s Office, Internet Crimes against Children Taskforce. The tip generated several images of child pornography that were downloaded and shared via social media platforms.
Over the course of the investigation, Knutsen was identified as the offender. Detectives brought him in for an interview in January 2021. Knutsen was cooperative and made several statements implicating himself in the illegal activity. He also provided detectives with his laptop, gaming system, and cell phone. Subpoenas and search warrants for those electronics were secured, forensically examined and further evidence was established.
Knutsen will appear for his arraignment in video court tomorrow morning at the Will County Courthouse.
The Will County Sheriff’s Investigation Division is announcing the arrest of Anthony Dvorak, age 35, of 28240 S. Walsh Road in Manhattan. Dvorak is facing charges of arson and criminal damage to property, both Class 2 felonies. He was also cited for DUI, improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
On 11/8/2020 at 11:05pm, deputies were dispatched to the 9500 block of Pauling Road, Manhattan, where they located a 2017 Chevy Silverado that had struck a utility pole. The injured driver, identified as Dvorak, was observed in a nearby field and was brought back to the scene. Frankfort Fire personnel arrived on scene and transported him to Silver Cross Hospital. He was treated for severe burns on both of his feet, facial bruising, a fractured nose and a cut above his eye. Deputies charged him at the hospital with the DUI and the other driving violations.
Deputies spoke with witnesses near the scene who stated that they observed the accident immediately following it and observed Dvorak with no shoes and burns on his feet while struggling to walk away from the accident. Deputies found no sign of a fire in or around the Silverado. The vehicle was towed and during a later search, a handheld torch and a small lighter were recovered.
The same evening, at 11:00pm, 911 dispatch received a call from a husband and wife who live in the 11000 block of W. Pauling Road. They stated that their pole barn was on fire. Upon deputy’s arrival, Manhattan and Peotone Fire were already on the scene and had extinguished the fire. During an interview with the homeowners, it was relayed that shortly after they saw their pole barn on fire they began receiving text message alerts from Green Garden Township regarding a power outage caused by an accident nearby. They also received Facebook community page photos from neighbors regarding a Chevy Silverado that had struck a utility pole. The couple believed they recognized the vehicle as belonging to Dvorak. They stated to deputies that they had recently had a falling out with Dvorak, had previous issues with him, and had cut ties with him regarding their friendship.
On 11/9/20, Sheriff’s detectives met at the W. Pauling Road residence along with Manhattan Fire Department, Illinois State Fire Marshal, Kevin Smith, and Illinois Special Agent/K-9 Handler, Michael Kuban with K-9 Phantom. Fire Marshal personnel conducted a thorough investigation and while ‘Phantom’ was conducting an open-air sniff of the pole barn he alerted to probable presence of an ignitable/flammable liquid. Based on the fire marshal report, the fire was started outside the service door and traveled into the pole barn….the combustible substance had an odor such as gasoline and was ignited by use of an open flame. Charred fabric and other debris was collected by deputies and processed for evidence. Estimated damage to the barn and its contents is $300,000.
After several search warrants were secured and evidence processed, an arrest warrant for Anthony Dvorak was issued on 2/11/2021. Bond was set at $250,000 (10% to apply.) Dvorak turned himself into the Frankfort Police Department on 2/19/21. He was booked in and then bonded out.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office, Investigations Division, would like to express their thanks to Kevin Smith, Michael Kuban, and ‘Phantom’, from the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office. Through their professionalism, expertise, and assistance, the outcome of this investigation was successful.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office is announcing the arrest of Michael R. Kennedy, age 24, of 10562 Lexington Lane in Frankfort Township. In December 2019, the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Unit received a cyber-tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce regarding an individual who was possibly sharing and uploading hundreds of child pornography videos and images online.
Sheriff’s detectives began a thorough investigation that led them to the identity of the offending individual as Michael Kennedy. A search warrant of Kennedy’s home was executed in late August 2020 and several electronic devices were collected. Detectives also interviewed Kennedy on that day where he made several statements implicating himself.
Over the next several months, forensic examinations were implemented on the devices. Upon completion of the full investigation, detectives secured an arrest warrant for Kennedy on Monday, February 8. Kennedy was picked up at his residence in Frankfort this morning and was taken into custody without incident.
Michael Kennedy is charged with three counts of child pornography. His bond was set at $150,000 (10% to apply.)