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Iowa Man Brings His Laptop To Best Buy After Spilling Gravy On It—And Ends Up Getting Arrested

Polk County Jail

Robert L. Watson of Des Moines, Iowa, took his laptop to Best Buy last August after spilling gravy on the device. He told Geek Squad techs that he wanted his files transferred to a new computer.

A fairly average request, but this one simple mistake led to his arrest last month.

A criminal complaint that was filed last month states that while transferring those files, the techs found evidence of child pornography.

According to BuzzFeed News,

“During this file transfer process employees at Best Buy ‘Geek Squad’ observed multiple images they believed contained child pornography. Once this transfer was complete both computers were collected by Des Moines police as evidence.”

After confiscating the computers, police evidently interviewed Watson.

During this interview, Watson claimed that he downloaded the images in order to “tell other people about them.”

Geek Squad employees finding child pornography while repairing computers is evidently not a rare occurrence:

“They don’t search for the material, but inadvertently discover it in the normal course of repairing a computer.”

This is despite the fact that customers are warned that employees will have to report it if they find any.

Best Buy’s Public Relations Director, Paula Baldwin, said:

“When we do find what appears to be child pornography, we have a legal obligation to notify law enforcement and we inform our customers of this prior to doing any work.”

“Law enforcement determines a course of action based on the evidence, as they did in this situation.”

Twitter was surprised that it was not a Florida man who did this.

Others were just left a bit confused.

Watson has since been charged with possession of child pornography, 10 counts in total.

Iowa’s Office of the State Public Defender Confirmed to BuzzFeed News that they have been officially appointed to Watson’s defense, but no attorney has been assigned yet.

He is currently being held in Polk County Jail on $50,000 bond.


Written by Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.