Det. Craig Burridge goes after the ‘worst of the worst’

Officer leads child pornography investigations for the Abbotsford Police Department

Det. Craig Burridge is the only officer in the Abbotsford Police Department who leads child pornography investigations.

Det. Craig Burridge is the only officer in the Abbotsford Police Department who leads child pornography investigations.

The 53-year-old man thought he was communicating with a teenage girl in Abbotsford when he began sending her sexually explicit videos of himself.

He mentioned that he hoped to travel from his home on Prince Edward Island across the country to meet the 14-year-old. The exchange went on through the summer of 2014 and into the fall.

What the man didn’t realize was that he was communicating with Abbotsford Police Department (APD) Det. Craig Burridge the entire time.

The investigation resulted in Lorne Thomas Stevens being arrested and later pleading guilty to using a computer to lure a person under the age of 16 into a sexual act.

Stevens was sentenced in July of this year to 18 months in prison.

The case is among the latest in a string of child porn investigations with which Burridge, a detective with the APD major crime unit (MCU), has been involved.

Burridge has been with the MCU since 2011, two years after joining the APD following an eight-year stint with the Delta Police Department. He is involved in all types of files, including murder, aggravated assault, armed robberies and arsons.

But his work in leading child porn investigations is unique in that he is the only officer in Abbotsford doing so.

The majority of these types of files in the Lower Mainland are handled, or started, by agencies such as the RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation Unit or the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, but those specific to Abbotsford are often handled by the APD.

Earlier this year, provincial RCMP reported they had uncovered 1,228 incidents of B.C. residents sharing child pornography, including photos and videos, during a six-month period in 2014.

Nationally, police-reported incidents of child pornography or child-prostitution-related offences totalled 2,293 in 2014, according to Statistics Canada.

Burridge said his work initially began as reactive – following up when other agencies notified the APD that a suspected offender was sharing or accessing images of child sexual abuse from Abbotsford.

His first such case took place in 2012, when his supervisor brought him a file and asked if he would be interested in investigating it.

An FBI agent on the U.S. east coast had been posing online as a man who wanted to involve his daughter in child pornography. The suspect had shared a sexually explicit image with the agent and stated, “Show this to your daughter.”

The exchange was traced to a computer in Abbotsford, and U.S. authorities notified the APD.

Burridge became the lead investigator on the case, including writing the application for a search warrant and interviewing the suspect who was arrested.

The task of thoroughly examining the items seized during the execution of the search warrant was assigned to APD Det. Shane Savinkoff, who runs the digital forensics lab that handles not only child porn files, but all types of cases that involve retrieving technological evidence.

The investigation resulted in Donald Petne, now 51, pleading guilty in June 2013 to charges of possession of child porn, importing or distributing child porn, and counselling an indictable offence not committed. He was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by three years of probation.

Burridge said it was difficult to view the “very detailed, gruesome and horrific” images that were obtained as evidence during the investigation, but having young children of his own motivated him to keep going, in between his other tasks with the major crime unit.

“It was a new challenge for me. Getting into policing, I never thought I would get into the position I am now … but somebody has to do it. These are the worst people of the worst,” he said.

Burridge said he has not had to take any time off to deal with the traumatic aspects of such work.

“Obviously, what I deal with is quite horrible; however, I recognize that it is a necessary evil that has to be completed in order for those responsible to be discovered and ultimately convicted. It is, in my opinion, much like those who investigate murders – I don’t think they enjoy seeing the horrible ways that people are killed, but they too need to do it to find those responsible.”

Burridge has since taken a series of courses and eventually became qualified to proactively go after people, instead of waiting for other agencies to notify the APD about potential suspects. His first such case was the one involving Stevens.

Since Burridge started his work in child porn investigations in 2012, a total of 14 suspects – all men – have been arrested and charged in Abbotsford. Of those, nine have pleaded guilty and five more are still working their way through the court system.

Burridge said in most cases the men apologize and say they didn’t realize they were victimizing anyone by viewing or sharing images of child sexual abuse, but he points out that they are creating a market for such material to be made.

He said most of the men charged are otherwise seemingly “normal” people whose loved ones find the discovery “confusing and shocking.”

“This isn’t your typical person driving around in a van looking for kids. You never know who’s going to be responsible for this because it’s a dark secret – a very dark secret,” Burridge said.

He acknowledges that there are more offenders who will go undetected than will be arrested, but he is driven to do what he can.

“There are no easy answers to it … There’s always going to be somebody out there, but I think we’re making a difference here (in Abbotsford), for sure,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen recently won a $1-million prize with Lotto 6/49. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen recently won the $1-million prize in a Lotto 6/49 draw. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen wins Lotto 6/49 $1-million prize

Ticket was purchased at Abbotsford’s FreshCo for the March 6, 2021 draw

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
Former Chilliwack man charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Prolific offender Kao Macaulay, 23, accused of breaking into home on March 30

Workers were on scene to clean up the oil spill in Abbotsford at Trans Mountain Pipeline’s Sumas pump station in June 2020. (File photo by Shane MacKichan)
TSB releases final report on June 2020 oil spill in Abbotsford

Transportation Safety Board says pipeline fitting to blame for spill of up to 190K litres

About 80 demonstrators walked through Hope with signs in support of saving the Station House on March 23, 2021. (Photo/Christian Ward)
Public hearing now planned for Hope’s Station House decision

Council has now taken steps to remove heritage status from historic building

Cemetery staff installed the wrong headstone on the grave of Jima Kiir, even though the headstone’s photo did not match with the photo placed on the grave. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mother upset city placed wrong headstone on son’s grave

Cemetery staff mix up graves of 2 recently deceased men from South Sudanese community

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read