HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WTRF/WBRE) – According to police in Pennsylvania, a man who kept officers at bay for more than five hours Monday afternoon has been linked to an internet pornography scheme crossing at least 22 states and several countries.
Joseph Polin, 46, was found dead inside a home at 305 East Elm Street Monday afternoon, hours after shooting at Hazleton Police Officers.
The autopsy shows that Polin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Investigators say that Joseph Polin was reaching out and making contact with young girls from around the United States and beyond, including China, England, and Canada.
He’s believed to have sent messages, both on social media and through letters, to young girls in the following states: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, California, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Maine, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
According to West Virginia State Police, three incidents involving Polin were reported in Mercer County, West Virginia.
According to law enforcement, Polin was on a mission to connect with young girls, most of whom were between the ages of 12 and 16.
“We found out we have 22 affected states, two different countries involving numerous 14-year-old girls. Pictures of them, hundreds of packages, manifestos, and letters that are very sexually graphic in nature,” said Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale on Thursday.
Polin allegedly downloaded pictures of children from the internet and mailed them to the child’s home address with a note describing what he would do to them sexually.
Detectives found photos of some of the girls that Polin made contact with. Investigators are now trying to identify those girls and their families.
Chief Jerry Speziale reportedly started receiving calls and emails from police departments around the nation, as well as from concerned parents, even as the standoff was still playing out.
Speziale said the challenge now is trying to determine the scope of Polin’s efforts to contact young girls, and just what his intentions were.
It’s clear to officials, however, that he was covering his tracks.
“We are finding out he used different names, numerous packages sent by certified mail to these locations, used post office boxes as a backdrop,” said Chief Speziale.
Investigators said that Polin destroyed a computer in his home as the standoff was taking place. Another computer that was found intact in that home is now being examined by detectives.
While the suspect is dead, the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with any information is asked to contact their local law enforcement agency.