Federal agents arrested a man in Raleigh on Thursday and charged him with sex offenses related to a Harnett County case that authorities say involved the production of child pornography at a home outside Sanford.
The man, who investigators think has been using the alias “Peter Gilbert,” is being held in the Wake County jail, said Vincent Picard, a spokesman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
Federal agents and investigators with the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office think Gilbert sexually abused an 8-year-old girl. The crime was captured on video, Picard said.
On Wednesday, federal agents asked for the public’s help in locating “John Doe,” a man they described as a “child predator.” They said the man “may be using the name Peter Gilbert and may be driving a white pickup truck,” according to a press statement.
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Federal agents also included a photo of the bespectacled man, wearing a yellow shirt.
It’s not clear where agents arrested the man or whether they know his real name.
Federal agents say Gilbert appeared in a child pornography video seized by Harnett County sheriff’s deputies last year during their investigation of a Sanford man who was convicted of multiple sex offenses involving children.
The convicted man, Bailey Mills, along with his wife, Elizabeth Mills, identified the man in the seized video as Peter Gilbert, Picard said.
“Peter Gilbert was an alias … not his real name,” he said late Thursday in an email to The News & Observer.
The man known as Gilbert is apparently the one authorities were looking for when they mistakenly arrested a Johnston County man last summer.
Harnett County deputies arrested Tommy Keith Wall, 50, in June and charged him with raping a 13-year-old girl and taking part in the making of child pornography at Bailey and Elizabeth Mills’ home on Nicole Drive outside Sanford starting in September 2013.
Detectives arrested Wall after they mistakenly thought a photo of him found at the Mills home linked him to the child sex crimes, said his lawyer, Fred Webb of Sanford
Wall spent 105 days behind bars before he was released Oct. 6. In between, he lost a $55,000-a-year desk job in Garner, where he had worked for 15 years, and the home he owned in Willow Spring was auctioned off on the steps of the Johnston County Courthouse.
Wall, unemployed since his release from jail, says he spends his time doing audio work for his church’s music ministry. He spends Wednesday evenings working sound for his church’s youth night, and every Tuesday he travels with church members to the Women’s Prison in Raleigh.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he said.
Wall said his “phone had been burning up yesterday and today” following the news from federal authorities that they were looking for Gilbert and had arrested him.
“I ain’t never seen the man in my life,” Wall said after looking at the suspect’s photo. “I just thank God they got the man they should have had in the first place.”