Tag Archives: law-enforcement data requests

Update: LVMPD Officers Helped Fellow Vegas Cop Accused of Child Sex Abuse Intimidate Victim During Investigation

Officer Bret Theil LVMPD cop charged with dozens of counts related to the sexual abuse of a child

After he was informed that an investigation had been launched into the sexual abuse of a child against Officer Bret Theil some of his friends at the LVMPD helped him locate and attempt to threaten her.

Last month, I posted about Bret Theil, who was one of two LVMPD officers to be involved in an armed standoff with Metro’s own SWAT team during the same week. Unlike most regular citizens, Theil survived his encounter with SWAT completely unscathed, in spite of being armed, and was subsequently charged with over two dozen charges related to the sexual abuse of a child (purportedly a family member).

Those charges include six counts of first-degree kidnapping, five counts of lewdness with a child under 14, six counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14, four counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16, four counts of sexual assault, and two counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

Soon after, Officer Theil’s case took on more of a national interest once it was revealed that he was present at the Mandalay Bay during the Route 91 Festival Shooting on October 1st. The fact that Theil was one of the Heroes that stood around in the hallway for over an hour doing nothing outside the hotel room of Stephen Paddock after he had already shot at a crowd of defenseless people fueled a lot of speculation.

Most of that speculation revolved around the idea that Theil had been “set up” to prevent him from (or warn against) revealing some nefarious details involving the Las Vegas Mass Shooting. As I posted earlier, I don’t personally believe that the charges (with a very real victim) were somehow fabricated for several reasons.

One of those reasons being that Theil is still alive after being involved in an armed standoff with the people that supposedly want to keep him quiet. Another being that charging somebody with several crimes that carry the possibility of life sentences is a pretty terrible way to prevent someone from spilling secrets. They simply don’t have much to lose by talking at that point.

The reality is that with the prevalence of sexual abuse and domestic violence among police officers, in general, and Las Vegas police, in particular, it’s not at all shocking that one (if not more) of those officers heroically hanging out in the hallway would face such charges.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Court Documents Reveal Details of Abuse

Officer Theil appeared in court on February 14th for an arraignment hearing. Included within the court documents filed as part of that hearing were grand jury transcripts that included details of the allegations against him. Those details illustrate how Theil used his position as a police officer to abuse and intimidate his victim. That abuse began when she was just eight years old and continued until she was nineteen.

According to  

The victim testified that in one of the most recent attacks, Theil used police-issued handcuffs to secure her to a bunk bed ladder for about an hour as he scolded her.

Before forcing her to perform sex acts on him, according to the testimony, he often used his position of authority as intimidation. An officer with Metro since August 1998, Theil would remove his police uniform and degrade the victim, sometimes erupting into fits of rage, she said.

Because of his job, his respect among neighbors and the cache of weapons she knew he kept, she was afraid to tell anyone about the ongoing abuse, she said.

“I felt drained,” she testified. “I felt fearful of what would happen if I told anyone, and I didn’t know if they would believe me.”

The first of more than 50 forced sexual encounters, including 10 after she turned 18, occurred inside the bathroom of his friend’s home, she testified.

In another incident, Theil allegedly struck the girl in the mouth, causing her to bleed.

At one point, he used a slick red plastic rope to tie her hands to the underside of a sit-up bench, she said.

Theil often would watch pornography on his cellphone or laptop while abusing her, according to the victim’s testimony, sometimes dragging her by the hair into submission.

“If I fought back with him,” she said, “I’m afraid he would probably knock me out.”

Other LVMPD Officers Helped Theil Locate Victim

Those grand jury transcripts also revealed that Officer Theil’s use of his position to intimidate and threaten his victim wasn’t just limited to the times he was actually committing those abuses. They also reveal he had a “little help from his friends” at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Once Theil was informed of the investigation into his crimes, he began an “urgent effort” to locate the victim before she could talk to the North Las Vegas police officers conducting that investigation. Among other things, he hired an attorney and a private investigator to search for her.

In addition, other officers within the LVMPD accessed a confidential law enforcement database in order to help Theil find her.

An intelligence database known as SCOPE, which contains personal and address information, was accessed to search for the victim from either Metro headquarters or a substation and an office at the College of Southern Nevada, according to testimony from Carey McCloud, a North Las Vegas detective.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Stacy Kollins asked, “Do you know whether law enforcement was involved in looking for her?”

McCloud replied, “Just his friends, from what I understand.” – (same source as above quotes)

The victim was eventually located by the private investigator and prior to her contact with NLV detectives Theil threatened her repeatedly in an attempt to intimidate her into not cooperating with their investigation. Fortunately, it didn’t work this time.

As disgusting as it is that other Metro officers would not only look the other way, but actively assist Theil in abusing his victim, it shouldn’t be surprising. Las Vegas area police have a long and widespread history of engaging in, covering up, and condoning abuse by their own. And the list of Bad Apples goes all the way to the top of the tree.

Related Posts

How Companies Share Your Online Information with Law Enforcement

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

By Patricia Shuler

You might be surprised at how easily law enforcement can obtain your private information

The internet is still something of a “Wild West” for privacy rights.* For the most part, that works in citizens’ favor—governments have yet to assert control over the internet the way they control television or radio—but in some cases, the absence of concrete rules allows law enforcement to take liberties with your private information in a way that would be unacceptable in most other contexts. Here are a few ways private companies share information with law enforcement, and what that means for your privacy rights.

Facebook hands over your personal data—even items you have marked “private.”

While setting a particular photo album or note to “private” may keep your ex from seeing it, it’s no protection against law enforcement. Federal and local law enforcement routinely request information from Facebook and other social networks to verify alibis, establish motive, and expose communications that might be relevant to investigations.

Facebook’s privacy policy states that they cooperate with law enforcement whenever they have a “good faith belief” that it will help prevent illegal activity—which basically means they’ll hand over your information for basically any justification law enforcement provides, with or without a warrant.

Your ISP will share details of your emails and browser history under certain circumstances.

Since email has been around a little longer, the privacy protections are somewhat stronger; but there are certain circumstances in which your ISP is permitted (or obligated) to share your personal data with law enforcement.

  • Your ISP can intercept and share messages if it “suspects” the sender intends to harm the system or another user, but it cannot monitor emails at random.
  • If either you or your message’s recipient consent, ISPs are free to share the content of your messages with law enforcement.
  • Because all your online correspondence goes through “third parties” (social networks, email services, your ISP), a warrant is not required to gain access to your online information—all police need is a court order or subpoena. Accordingly, police do not have to establish probable cause before obtaining your private information.
  • As of this summer, many ISPs have been openly deputized by the RIAA and MPAA to fight piracy by throttling bandwidth and even shutting down service for individuals accused of repeated piracy.

ISPs have access to more than just your browser history and email contacts—people who work out of the office on laptop computers give away their daily routine because ISPs keep track of where your IP address checks in from.

Cell phone companies hold a wealth of information that they routinely sell to law enforcement

Cell phone companies are even cagier about their data-sharing practices than the likes of Facebook or Google—and they possess a wealth of information that you might not realize you’re giving them. Any phone with GPS capability can tell your cell phone company who you routinely visit, what religious or political groups you belong to, and which of your contacts are most important to you—even if they don’t actually conduct a wiretap.

These requests for cell phone data have become so common that Sprint created a special website just for law-enforcement data requests—and received 8 million such requests within a year. Many law enforcement offices have simply set up automated check-ins to ping the Sprint site for updated information on the cell phones they’re tracking every three minutes.

While some of this information does require subpoenas (which are, again, easier to obtain than warrants), much of it is shared freely—and cell phone companies tell customers no more than they have to about their level of cooperation with law enforcement.

It’s easier to talk about what is not shared by third parties online

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Very few of your Fourth Amendment protections stay with you when you go online. Detailed call records, wiretaps, and the specific content of your emails are protected under most circumstances; but a good rule of thumb is that if you put any data on a telecommunications network, law enforcement has access to it.

Patricia Shuler is a BBGeeks.com staff writer from Oakland, California. She’s an admitted tech-junkie who’s quick to share her honest opinion on all things consumer electronic—including up-to-date news, user reviews, and “no holds barred” opinions on a variety of social media, tech, computer, and mobile accessories topics.

*Editor’s note – the “wild west” is a misconception, that era was actually very peaceful and non-violent. Instead of relying on arbitrary man-made legislation conflated to be law, natural law was emergent from the bottom-up. For more on this, check out: