Investigators combed through the home of a cyber security specialist suspected in nine attempted kidnapping cases on Wednesday evening, serving a search warrant and confiscating several electronic devices.
Spicer Van Allen Conant's home, located in the gated community of Savona, in San Marcos, was swarmed with authorities seen carrying out boxes of electronics and papers.
The Escondido Police Department (EPD) announced Conant’s arrest Tuesday. Investigators said he’s linked to at least nine cases spanning the course of about 10 months – starting last spring. In each case, Conant asked young girls for directions and even offered them money to get into his car.
The EPD said the first reported incident happened when Conant allegedly approached a 15-year-old girl on Fig Street and Washington Avenue on May 9, 2016. She got away.
Later that same day, he tried to offer a 16-year-old girl $10 for directions to the freeway. That girl got into his car but after driving with Conant for a few blocks, she got nervous and began texting someone. Conant dropped her off and drove away.
On March 15, Conant allegedly approached an 11-year-old girl as she walked to Mission Middle School, again asking for directions. She ignored him and walked away. Since then, there have been other reported victims.
The EPD said investigators have reached out to other law enforcement agencies across San Diego County to determine if Conant targeted any other young victims in this manner.
Since his arrest, authorities with the Escondido Police Family Protection Unit have been working to interview potential victims and search the suspect's house for clues.
Conant's expertise in cyber security has Escondido police wanting a peek at his digital media.
"We've been working all night, all day yesterday and all night then into today,” Sgt. Rhett Gann said.
Armed with a search warrant, detectives from the Family Protection Unit did a careful four-hour sweep of Conant's home.
NBC 7 learned that Conant's laptop and desktop computers, and at least one phone were confiscated.
Investigators said they are looking for pictures, text conversations and other digital communication that could support the charges against him.
"I can tell you there isn't anything that stood out that we didn't expect or have a reason to believe was in there," Gann said.
If the confiscated electronics are encrypted or passcode protected, investigators said results could take weeks.
The Escondido Police Family Protection Unit does have two trained code breakers on staff.
The investigation is ongoing.
Conant worked at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego from 1993 to 1996, a spokesperson for Scripps Institution confirmed Wednesday.
The suspect has been booked into the Vista Detention Facility on 10 felony counts of kidnapping and nine misdemeanor counts, including annoying children. He's scheduled to appear in court Thursday.