Port Moody Police arrest Abbotsford man for ‘sextortion’ of local youth

Jesse Toews, 28, charged with possession of child pornography, and using a computer password to commit and offence
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Port Moody Police Facebook photo.

After a year-long investigation, Port Moody Police arrested an Abbotsford man for an alleged “sextortion” scheme against a Port Moody youth.

The Crown approved two charges against 28-year-old Jesse Toews on Nov. 29: possession of child pornography, and using a computer password to commit an offence.

“This investigation was sophisticated and technical [in terms of] uncovering other alleged compromised data and other potential victims,” stated Constable Sam Zacharias.

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 “We commend the victim for coming forward to police and reporting this incident. If you are the victim of an extortion, we recommend you call police immediately,” Zacharias added.

The victim was under 18 when she contacted Port Moody police in October 2021, claiming someone had hacked into her cloud-based platform, stolen intimate images and threatened to distribute them if she did not send more.

Police assigned detectives from its Major Crimes Section to investigate, which eventually led to a search warrant and seizure of several devices.

Zacharias said they investigate every case, but it’s rare for investigations to land a charge for this type of online crime. 

He said it’s not common for the suspect to be based locally, as most often sextortion crimes are international crimes, which adds another layer of complexity.

“They’re difficult investigations for sure,” Zacharias said. “Just given the fact that it’s taken over a year – it shows how much work goes into these types of investigations.”

Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tip line for reporting online sexual exploitation of children, reported a 56 percent increase in the amount of sextortion cases between March and August 2022. 

They receive an average of 168 reports a month, which nearly doubled over the summer.

Sextortion attempts on Instagram and Snapchat account for 77 percent of all incidents, according to Cybertip.

Toews next appearance in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court is on Dec. 14.

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