Columbus man arrested and charged with child exploitation

COLUMBUS, Ind. (IUSTV News) — Columbus Police arrested and charged a man with child exploitation Monday after investigators reportedly found child porn on his phone while investigating a stolen vehicle case.

Caleb Kirts (Columbus Police Department)

According to CPD, Caleb Kirts, 30, was taken into custody at Kirts Truck Repair in Columbus, and remains in the Bartholomew County Jail on a 48-hour hold, as more charges may be filed.

Police said the investigation began in February when Columbus Police Officers stopped Kirts in a vehicle that was reported stolen from Indianapolis. Kirts reportedly told him that there was evidence on his phone that proved where the vehicle came from.

When investigators reportedly went through his phone for the stolen vehicle evidence, they also found images of child pornography. CPD said that through 2022 and 2023, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received several tips that Kirts had uploaded pornographic images of children.

Police served a search warrant at Kirt’s home on Monday and collected several electronic devices.

The ICAC Task Force is a multi-agency task force that investigates and prosecutes online child sex crimes, according to its website.

In 2023, there were more than 16-thousand cyber tips submitted, up from 14-thousand the year before, according to statistics provided by the task force. In 2019, which was the first year included in the statistics, there were a total of 4-thousand reports.

Anyone with information on exploitation, solicitation, and enticement-type crimes against children are encouraged to submit a tip to NCMEC.