Police did recover a computer hard drive from Paddock’s residence - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Police did recover a computer hard drive from Paddock’s residence

LAS VEGAS — When police executed a search warrant on gunman Stephen Paddock’s Mesquite, NV residence at 1372 Babbling Brook Court, a digital hard drive was recovered from the residence on October 2, 2017.

The hard drive is not specifically mentioned in the inventory of items seized at Paddock’s Mesquite residence in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s final criminal investigative report that was released in August.

The report only indicates that “Computer related items,” were seized.

Reviewing the search warrant inventory of property taken pursuant to the search warrant that was returned to the Court, the following “Computer related items” were seized from Paddocks Mesquite residence:

  • Dell laptop
  • Digital hard drive
  • Thumb drives
  • SD cards
  • Printer
  • Arris modem/router

There has been talk in the media for a year concerning Paddock’s missing hard drive and what information it may have contained.

The police stated that the hard drive was never recovered. The final police report does not mention anything about the hard drive that was taken from his residence.

The police report does indicate that a “Disassembled laptop computer missing hard drive,” was found on the floor in the bedroom suite of Room 32-135 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Whether the hard drive seized from Paddock’s residence was the hard drive that was missing from the laptop in Paddock’s suite is not known.

Remember, Paddock made several trips back and forth to his residence in Mesquite while he was registered at the Mandalay Bay.

What is interesting is that the laptop recovered from Paddock’s hotel suite wasn’t just missing its hard drive, the police state in the report that the laptop was found “disassembled” on the floor.

That would indicate to me, that most likely the laptop was disassembled after it was brought into the suite. It would make no sense in taking a disassembled laptop without its hard drive to your room.

Did Paddock removed the hard drive and discarded it because it possibly contained child pornography? That also doesn’t make sense to me because the police report does indicate they did find child pornography on the laptop computer that was found on the bed in the bedroom of his suite:

Evidence Item Dell Laptop Computer Recovered in Room 32-135

“Computer forensic analysis of a Dell laptop Model E5570 revealed numerous Internet searches for open-air venues. Additionally, several hundred images of child pornography were located on the computer’s hard drive. The investigation into the source of these images is ongoing.”

So, according to the final police report on the Las Vegas massacre, there is still an “ongoing” investigation concerning child pornography.

If the missing hard drive contained child pornography, why would Paddock remove that hard drive but not the hard drive from the working laptop that was found in Room 32-135 that contained images of child pornography?

It could very well be that there was something on the missing hard drive that might implicate other(s) in some type of criminal activity.

The police did say that Paddock left a digital trail of other incriminating evidence that was found on his computer, i.e. the Internet searches for open-air venues, SWAT tactics, etc.

We most likely will never know what was in the mind of this madman. One thing is for certain, he planned and executed the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

From a criminal investigative standpoint, I still have my doubts that nobody else knew what he was planning to do. I just can’t buy that.

Also, interesting to note that the police report states that “Centrally located on the bar counter…, a black ZTE cell phone with the front and back cameras covered with tape.”

What did Lombardo say about the hard drive that is not contained in the police report

At the August 3 press briefing prior to the release of the final report, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo who runs the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was asked by a reporter, “Are we going to find something in the report reference the missing hard drive?”

Lombardo: “No. There is nothing in there because we have no idea about where the hard drive is or when it was removed. We have information through his previous relationships that that was a regular practice of him to remove hard drives from the computer systems that he utilized for what reason unknown.”

“We all are aware that he had depictions of child pornography on his current computer, maybe that was to get rid of the evidence, who knows, but we have no idea when that particular hard drive was removed. It could have been in short proximity of the shooting, but we have not located the missing hard drive.”

The police report does not mention that the police were told that Paddock had a regular practice of removing hard drives. I find that odd because that was one of the questions the media asked last year, yet they failed to mention that in the police report.

But then again, you have to consider the source here and Lombardo’s history of not telling the truth.

Back in January after the preliminary investigative report was released, I had sent a media request to the LVMPD press information office in reference to the report.

When I spoke to one of the PIO’s he told me that they weren’t going to dissect the report. He said, “Take it for what it’s worth.”

As I have reported in several stories since the August release of the LVMPD’s final criminal investigative report on the Las Vegas Massacre, the report contains false and misleading statements.

So for now, I am doing just that. Taking it for what it’s worth.

Destroying computer hard drives not uncommon with mass shooters

Stephen Paddock is not the first mass shooter to remove a hard drive from a computer.

Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the 2015 San Bernardino shooters smashed their cell phones and hard drives.

Joseph Aldridge, the Missouri man who in 2015 fatally shot seven of his neighbors, then shot himself, torched his computer in a burn barrel behind his house. The police couldn’t recover anything from the hard drive.

Adam Lanza, the gunman in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings removed the hard drive from his computer and smashed it with a hammer or screwdriver.

Steven Kazmierczak, the 2008 Northern Illinois shooter removed the hard drive from his laptop and the SIM card from his cell phone.

Cho Seung Hui, the gunman in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings also removed the hard drive from his computer and disposed of his cell phone.

What did Stephen Paddock and his brother Bruce Paddock have in common

Stephen Paddock had hundreds of images of child pornography on his laptop according to the police.

His brother, Bruce Paddock was arrested in October 2017 stemming from a case that had originated in 2014. He was charged with possessing more than 600 images of child pornography, as well as 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Although the charges were dismissed in July of this year because a witness failed to appear, the Los Angeles County prosecutors said they intend to refile the case.

With all the child molestations, pedophilia and child killings in this country and abroad, anyone who gets a thrill from looking at photographs or videos of children engaged in sex acts should immediately be penciled in for a telephone call from the angel of death.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.
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