A total of three people were taken away in handcuffs and a child was taken by CPS Thursday morning after a search warrant was served at a Banning home on a man wanted on child pornography charges, authorities said.
Banning police say they were called out to help, though the SAFE Task Force was the primary agency in charge of the operation. SAFE, short for "sexual assault felony enforcement" is a multi-agency organization that monitors sexual offenders throughout Riverside County.
The SAFE team had an arrest warrant for Thomas Tatar, 26, who had been living at the location on Almond Way, near Hargrave and Wilson streets, according to Riverside County District Attorney Spokesman John Hall.
The team had been investigating Tatar for the last year on suspicion of distributing child pornography, but he had moved out of state for some time, Hall said. Investigators recently learned that he had moved back into the area, and planned their operation to bring the man into custody.
Neighbors tell Banning-Beaumont Patch that they heard police yelling at the people inside the home to come out early in the morning, at around 7 a.m.
"I've never seen so many cops at one house," neighbor Miranda Bell told Patch.
According to Hall, once authorities were inside the home, they found several unsafe living conditions-- including unsafe electrical wires running all throughout the house and no running water. The house also smelled strongly of marijuana, and plants were found growing in the backyard, though they are legal since residents had a medical marijuana license, Hall said.
A six-month-old baby was taken away by Child Protective Services after the home was found to be unsuitable for him to live in.
"There was an electrical wire running right over the baby’s crib," Hall told Banning-Beaumont Patch. "Officers also found dirty diapers in the crib with the child..."
In addition to Tatar, police ended up arresting another man who was living in the house, 27-year-old Christopher Noone, the child's father, for child endangerment. Also taken into custody was his wife; the mother of the baby taken by CPS. She was questioned but has not yet been charged with anything, according to Hall.
Witnesses say the people who live at the house have been very quiet, and tended to keep to themselves after moving in a few months ago.
"[Noone and his wife] would say hi to us when me and my son were walking back and forth to the park," Bell said. "They would say hi and be friendly, but [Tatar], he wouldn't really say much. He would just kind of mind his own business."
Police also seized computers from the home as evidence in their case.
According to jail records, Tatar was being held at the Banning jail on $50,000 bail, while Noone's bail was set at $35,000.