Although Mountain View police reported they acted on a cyber-crime tip received in January to aid in the arrest of an alleged child molester last week, resident Steven Callister blew the whistle on the suspect in 2017, according to emails he forwarded to the Town Crier.
“Do you know if the Mountain View detective made any headway in the case or if they’re still looking at it?” he asked police spokeswoman Katie Nelson in one email from 2018.
Nelson responded to Callister at the time, confirming the investigation was ongoing and thanking him for his help.
So when a press release the department issued last week said the investigation into 27-year-old Victor Miller – who offered his services as babysitter on the Care.com website – began at the beginning of this year, Callister was upset.
Nelson explained the discrepancy, noting that investigation was “arduous” and only completed when Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deputies recently took Miller into custody on an unrelated weapons charge.
“Contacting a suspected predator prior to the ability to arrest them is rarely done in investigations due to this simple fact: If we make them aware that they are in any way under investigation, they destroy the evidence and we could no longer have a case,” Nelson told the Town Crier. “Suddenly, everything goes out the window.”
Callister initially alerted Nelson of his suspicions about Miller two and a half years ago after a Care.com representative allegedly called Callister and his wife and told them not to speak with Miller, whom they had hired as a babysitter vetted through the service, or allow him in their house. Miller, who used the name “Allen M.” on Care.com at that time, had been banned from advertising on the site.
But Miller repeatedly showed up on the site using a series of aliases after multiple account suspensions, despite Callister’s pleas to Care.com representatives to investigate him.
As the Mountain View police investigation continued, detectives learned in 2018 that Miller had moved out of Mountain View. His Care.com profiles placed him in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, but his exact whereabouts were unknown.
While it is not illegal to create multiple accounts under different names on a website, it would be illegal to enter Miller’s home and search his electronics and account history, according to Nelson.
Building a case
Detectives worked on the Miller investigation for two years to build their case. The District Attorney’s Office, neighboring cities and county partners were aware of the department’s monitoring at the time.
Callister reached out to the Mountain View police and the Town Crier simultaneously in the days following Miller’s arrest. An officer walked him through the timeline Monday (May 4).
“It was very clear that they had filed warrants and actively worked to try and get Miller even before the (January tip),” he told the Town Crier in an email. “That being said, I do think Care.com dropped the ball here and could’ve done much more instead of playing ‘whack-a-mole’ with Miller’s accounts.”
Care.com did not respond to requests for comment prior to the Town Crier’s deadline.
Miller remains in custody after a judge denied his bail request Saturday. He is charged with two counts of attempted lewd and lascivious acts involving children, contact or communication with knowledge and intent to commit specified offenses, two counts of possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and arrangement of a meeting with a minor for purposes of engaging in certain lewd and lascivious behavior.
For the Town Crier's original coverage of Miller's arrest, click here.