A 20-year-old computer technician from Fullerton was arrested today on charges of implanting spyware on dozens of computers to secretly watch the owners via webcams.
Trevor Timothy Harwell is charged with a dozen counts of illegal computer access and fraud, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
Harwell was arrested at his home today and released from the Fullerton jail when he posted $50,000 bond, Fullerton police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said.
While working for Rezitech Inc., Harwell visited the homes of customers with Macintosh computers to service them, he said.
"While he had physical access to the computers, he would install a spyware-type application that allowed him remote access to the user's computer and webcam," Goodrich said, adding Harwell also worked on the computers of friends.
"Once he had access, he would take photographs of the users, usually women," Goodrich said. "Often, the female victims were undressed or changing clothes."
Harwell, who is a "computer guru," stored the pictures on a remote server and eventually downloaded them to his own computer, Goodrich said.
Harwell allegedly collected hundreds of thousands of images. Court records indicate the crimes date to June 2009.
According to Goodrich, a Fullerton man told police last summer when his daughter's computer started displaying suspicious messages such as: "You should fix your internal sensor soon. If unsure what to do, try putting your laptop near hot steam for several minutes to clean the sensor."
Responding to the message, many victims took their laptops into the bathroom while taking a shower, Goodrich said.
Harwell worked on computers in Los Angeles and Orange counties, where there are multiple victims, Goodrich said.
Investigators seized images, video and cellphone video of women allegedly taken by Harwell and stored on his computer, Goodrich said.
Many of the victims attend Biola University, a private Christian school in La Mirada, where Harwell took classes, but is no longer enrolled there, Goodrich said.
Harwell also is accused of installing a spyware program on the hard drives of computers connected to Biola University's network, Goodrich said.