Officials at the New York Northern Probation Department say they believe rape and murder suspect David Renz was able to take apart and reconstruct his monitoring ankle bracket before the attack in Clay on Thursday night. A Federal judge previously acknowledged having concerns about Renzâ??s technological skills.
The transcript from Renzâ??s federal detention hearing on January 11, regarding his child pornography case, shows that the judge overseeing the case had concerns about allowing Renz to be under supervised release.
Renz was previously charged with possession of child pornography after FBI investigators found over 100 gigabytes of child porn on Renzâ??s computer. The images were stored on a partitioned encrypted hard drive.
Federal Judge Andrew Baxter told Renz he would go along with the federal prosecutorâ??s recommendation of supervised release "notwithstanding the very serious nature of the charges that you're facing and what we have learned about your juvenile record."
Baxter elaborated for Renz all of the conditions he would need to comply with. Renz was told he could not have any contact with minors, had to be at his motherâ??s home from 9:00pm to 7:00am everyday, and could not use a computer that was not monitored by the probation office.
Baxter warned Renz several times during the hearing about the consequences of violating any of the conditions of release or tampering with the electronic monitoring anklet he would be required to wear.
"I am just very, very serious that I am going to tolerate no departures from those conditions, because the Court, frankly, has concerns about your release, and so you need to make sure you take these conditions very seriously and that you don't do anything, in spite of your obvious skills with computers, to try to get around those conditions," said Baxter.
The judge told Renz he should leave his job at Wegmans because it would put him in contact with minors working there.
Renz said he understood the conditions of release and was prepared to abide by them.
"Now, I understand you know computers and there may be ways around some of these things, but trust me, you know, if we have any whiff of the fact that you're trying to defeat the monitoring software or using a computer elsewhere or doing anything to circumvent the monitoring, then you're going to have a problem with me," said Baxter.
Chief Federal Probation Officer Matthew Brown said Renz was able to deactivate his monitoring anklet by taking it apart and putting it back together. The anklet, made by BI Industries, has a fiber optic light running through it. When the light beam is broken a tamper alert goes out. If the beam is not restored within a short time, a more serious alert is sent out.
Brown says Renz was able to take apart and reassemble his anklet in a very short time so a tamper report was generated. Since Renz was able to correctly reassemble the pieces of the monitoring anklet, Brown says it returned to normal service and a more serious alert was not sent out. Brown said that until last week, he had never even heard it was possible for someone on probation to take apart and reassemble a monitoring anklet. "Technologically, he was very skilled," said Brown.
Brown says he has been in touch with federal authorities and has updated them on how Renz is believed to have removed and reassembled his anklet. It is not uncommon for a monitoring anklet to generate a tamper report since the fiber optic light beam is very sensitive and Brown says thatâ??s why alerts only go out when the light beam is not restored in a short time.
"The downfall of this equipment is that if you bang into a wall, you get a tamper report," said Brown.
Brown said only a small percentage of people wearing electronic monitoring anklets tamper with the technology since any indication of tampering can land them back in jail.
Renzâ??s skill with computers and technology was one of the main concerns expressed by Baxter at the January 11 hearing where Renz was released.
Renz is accused of is accused of kidnapping Bresnahan and a 10-year-old girl who was with her at Great Northern Mall in Clay. Renz allegedly raped the child before driving to Verplank Road where he killed Bresnahan.