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Months-long investigation leads to arrest of freelance photographer

Posted at 3:58 PM, Mar 27, 2019

Freelance photographer Zachary Warburg was arrested by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday following a months-long investigation that authorities say involved inappropriate sexual communication with female minors.

The sheriff’s office says the investigation started when a San Marcos High School student told a school resource deputy that Warburg was trying to communicate with her in a sexual nature.

After investigating the allegations, the sheriff’s office says they found several instances in which Warburg was communicating inappropriately with female students at local high schools and junior high schools. They say Warburg’s communication with them was suspicious, lewd and suspected criminal behavior.

The investigation was turned over to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division in June 2018.

They reportedly found patterns of Warburg communicating with underage girls either in person or through social media platforms.  The sheriff’s office says he would ask the underage girls for sexual acts or for sexually explicit pictures.

When the sheriff’s office served a search warrant, they say they found Warburg in possession of child pornography.

Warburg was arrested on suspicion of communicating with a minor with intent to commit sex crimes or other felonies, possession of child pornography, and sending harmful materials to a minor with the intent of sexual gratification.

Sheriff’s detectives say they have interviewed several victims, but there are still people they have not contacted and there could be additional victims.

They ask anyone with information about these allegations or information that could lead to the discovery of more victims to contact the sheriff’s office at (805) 681-4150.