35 Sex Offenders Picked Up During Operation Grand Slam
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Thirty-five fugitive sex offenders were arrested over the last 10 weeks as part of Western Pennsylvania's participation in Operation Grand Slam, United States Attorney David J. Hickton and Chief Deputy United States Marshal Mike Baughman announced today.
Operation Grand Slam is a collaborative effort by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Sex Offender Investigations Branch, the three Judicial Districts in Pennsylvania and the District of Delaware, along with the State Police in each state, to develop a comprehensive non-compliant sex offender roundup effort. The focus of this operation was to capture the "Most Wanted Sex Offenders" identified by the Pennsylvania and Delaware State Police Megan's Law Units. A second focus of the operation was to assist both states in capturing their absconded and non-compliant offenders - 275 were identified in Pennsylvania and approximately 90 were identified in Delaware.
In Western Pennsylvania the first phase of the operation began in May 2011. The USMS for Western Pennsylvania worked with the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), Allegheny County Sheriff's Office (ACSO), and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (PBP) to organize a compliance check operation. The goal of this operation was to identify non-compliant sex offenders in Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties. PSP, ACSO and PBP were able to complete 868 compliance checks. This number included checks on 100 % of the sex offenders located in Westmoreland County and all of the sexually violent predators in Allegheny County.
The second phase of the operation commenced in June 2011. The USMS investigators contacted local authorities to offer assistance in apprehending fugitive non-compliant sex offenders. The USMS for Western Pennsylvania also prioritized locating offenders on the PSP Megan's Law Unit non-compliant absconder list. This list numbered approximately 70 offenders.
Operation Grand Slam resulted in the arrests of 122 offenders in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Thirty-five arrests were made in Western Pennsylvania. Of those 35 arrests, 28 were for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. The USMS for Western Pennsylvania arrested four offenders that were listed as PSP Megan's Law Most Wanted fugitives. They also forwarded leads and arrested Pennsylvania offenders in Ohio, Florida, Texas and Arizona. This operation also resulted in arrests of non-compliant offenders from Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey who anonymously established residence within Pennsylvania. Overall the PSP non-compliant list for the area encompassing the Western District of Pennsylvania was reduced by approximately 50 percent.
The highlight arrest of Operation Grand Slam was Chad Berkley, who was listed as a Pennsylvania Megan's Law Most Wanted. Berkley was wanted by the Crafton Police Department for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender. Crafton Police referred the warrant to the U.S. Marshals Service's Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force (WPAFTF) for apprehension. Berkley was located living in Pima County, Arizona. He has been charged federally with a violation of the federal sex offender registration laws and was apprehended on July 23, 2011. He is currently detained and will face charges in the District of Arizona.
Efforts by the USMS and its partners are ongoing. The USMS WPAFTF is actively looking for the following fugitive sex offenders:
- Joshua Foster, 35, wanted since 2005 for failing to comply with the sex offender registration requirements;
- Ian Ketterer, 28, wanted since 2009 for failing to comply with the sex offender registration requirements;
- Brian McGaffic, 37, wanted since 2010 for failing to comply with the sex offender registration requirements;
- Timothy Smith, 41, wanted since 2011 for failing to comply with the sex offender registration requirements; and
- John Anderson, 45, a sexually violent predator with ties to Beaver and Lawrence Counties.
Anyone with information should call 412-422-4722.
Mr. Hickton commended the following agencies for their participation in Operation Grand Slam: the U.S. Marshals Service, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, the Allegheny County Police, the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Albion Police Department, the Crafton Police Department, the Elizabeth Police Department, the McKeesport Police Department, the McKees Rocks Police Department, the New Brighton Police Department, the New Castle Police Department, the Penn Hills Police Department, the Uniontown Police Department and the Wilkinsburg Police Department.