Matthew Eric Linngren nabbed in Calif. in child porn case

Categories: Crime

Matthew Eric Linngren's run from the law is over.
Matthew Eric Linngren, a former church youth director convicted of distributing child porn, has been arrested in California. He was one of the notorious 10 included in our Minnesota's Most Wanted list.

Although U.S. Marshals originally marveled at his carefully planned disappearance three weeks ago, Linngren forgot one important detail -- don't drive a stolen car.

His legal woes started back in 2002 when a boy said Linngren fondled him at their Columbia Heights church. Although it ended relatively quietly -- Linngren pleaded guilty without having to admit to anything -- the FBI was very interested to learn of this when his name popped up in a child pornography investigation.

The feds discovered Linngren distributed 600 images of young boys in sexual situations with other members of a Yahoo group. Linngren pleaded guilty and was given a 15 year sentence last month.

It all went haywire from there. Although he was on electronic monitoring, two days before he was supposed to turn himself in to U.S. Marshals, the bracelet went off and Linngren was in the wind. Before he left, he sent letters to his friends and family telling them he didn't think he'd survive prison. That was the last anyone heard from him.

Three weeks and 2,000 miles later, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies pulled over a man driving a stolen car. It was Linngren. They had no idea who they had until they ran his name.

He'll be extradited to Minnesota, but for now is still in sunny California. "He has the auto theft, so he still has some things to sort out there," says Kyle Loven with the FBI.

After that the U.S. Attorney will pile on some extra charges for the unscheduled West Coast vacation. Although he was originally set to serve his sentence at a low-security facility near his parents, the additional charges will likely bump him up to a higher-security, out of state prison.

"He's in a whole world of trouble now," says U.S. Attorney spokesperson Jeanne Cooney.

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