The State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation keeps track of thousands of registered sex offenders with GPS ankle monitors. But, 17 News has reported in just the last week on five offenders who have tried to dodge the system by disabling or removing theirs.
Ned Pepper points to his shackles, the same spot where his GPS tracking device used to be. In 2002, Pepper was arrested for having sex with a girl, he says, lied about her age. "She was 16 at the time, and I was 21. And, she even admitted in the police report that she lied to me," said Pepper who is in custody for violating his parole.
In 2007, Pepper was fitted with a global positioning satellite monitoring device, that fits firmly around the ankle. It sends out a signal so parole agents can track their movements, keeping them from places they shouldn't be.
"If a parolee has a 'no alcohol' condition, we can see if he's going to that liquor store," explained James Stanton, unit supervisor at the local CDCR office.
In the last week, agents here have sent 17 News pictures of five violators who have disabled or removed their monitors.
"Summertime comes and sometimes things increase. Sometimes they back off and Christmastime rolls around, and for some reason, it seems like we have a lot of violations," explained Stanton. Those monitored are required to keep their devices charged. And, they can't break or remove the monitor.
"The reason I say it's not hard to cut off is because a pair of utility scissors, even regular scissors could do it," said Pepper about the ankle monitor.
Ned removed his device once in the two years he was required to wear it. There are wires in the strap. When those are cut or when the device, for any reason, stops sending a signal, the agent is alerted and takes action.
"He's putting out a warrant for the guy or we go out looking for him, can't find him, put out a warrant about him on TV, said Stanton. "I think it's working, the system's working. We'll have family members telling us where they are or just citizens who have seen the person."
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