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Newhall Mechanic Cleared After Computer Seizure

khts_crime_genericDetectives from the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau have completed their investigation of computers seized from Engine Dynamics in Newhall and report that they found no evidence of child pornography.

Special Victims Investigator Ron Anderson told KHTS that the High Tech division of the bureau spent the last several months examining two computers and a cell phone seized from shop owner Brian Clark and found “absolutely nothing.”

“This was based solely on alleged observations by someone who reported it to the Sheriff’s Department,” he said. “The original informant (who remains anonymous) could have an axe to grind. But we have to investigate any reports we get. We couldn’t just walk in and talk with Brian, the only way to get evidence was to get a search warrant.”

The warrant was served in mid-September of 2009, but Clark was never arrested, nor was the District Attorney involved in the case at any time.

“We’ve returned all the stuff to Mr. Clark, but he’s understandably upset,” Anderson said.

The hard drive taken by deputies in September was sitting in the corner of Clark’s tidy office after Anderson returned it Thursday. Clark said that 18 years of customer information, including maintenance records, disappeared out the door with the investigators, forcing him to start over from scratch. He bought a new computer and software and re-built his database, but wasn’t eager to hook up the returned equipment just yet.

Asked if he lost any customers over the news of the seizure, Clark said he didn’t know.

“Everything went out the door, I even had customers here,” he said of the day the search warrant was served, recalling the streets being blocked off and investigators coming in with guns drawn.

Over the years, Clark says he has built up a loyal following and many customers offered their support, saying they didn't believe he could have done anything wrong.

“I did have lots of customers who came back like nothing had happened.”