A ‘spring break destination’ filled with alleged criminal intent
After a multi-state sting operation, including cooperation from NDSU Police, Christopher Brereton, 33, a current NDSU student and member of Theta Chi Fraternity, was arrested on March 13.
Brereton is charged with four felony accounts including: Risk of injury to child; enticing a minor by computer; attempt to commit sexual assault in the second degree and attempt to commit ill possess child pornography in the third degree.
Brereton and the minor started communicating Jan. 16 on ‘Mixxxer.com’, which is a “… hookup site where men and women can seek sexual partners,” according to the District of Connecticut application for a warrant to search Brereton’s Apple Ipad Pro.
Brereton and the actual minor were in communication until Feb. 20, when a concerned family member learned of their correspondence and gave permission to New Haven Police Department’s task force to assume the identity of the minor and to view prior messages.
When the special agent reviewed the chat log, he observed that Brereton had asked where the minor currently lives, upon learning that she lived in Connecticut Brereton said, “I’m looking for a spring break destination…,” to which the minor joked that he should visit.
After reviewing past chats, the special agent continued communication with Brereton taking on the identity of the minor.
It was during these chats that the minors true age of 15 was disclosed, asking if he was bothered by it, Brereton responded, “Not really,” signaling to the special agent he didn’t mind that the supposed female was underage.
“As their chat progressed, CJ (what he tells the minor to call him), discusses where they could meet…(if she will be) able to get away and spend a weekend with him.”
A special agent learned where Brereton lived via “information provided by Verizon Wireless,” tracing him back to Fargo. Six days prior to him traveling, a special agent observed Brereton’s vehicle, a Ford Explorer, at the Home Depot parking lot, where he is thought to have worked. After messages from him stated that he in fact, “worked at a home improvement store.”
After reaching out to Home Depot, located on 17th Avenue SW, they have declined to comment on the matter.
The address on the Ford Explorer’s temporary dealer tag matched the address of the NDSU Theta Chi Fraternity house. It was at this point that special agents reached out to NDSU Police confirming that Brereton is a “…registered student at NDSU this semester.” After confirmation, a special agent then reported having observed his vehicle parked close to the fraternity.
On March 11, a federal warrant was signed allowing for the installation of a tracker device on Brereton’s vehicle, with knowledge that he was planning on traveling to Connecticut over spring break. Brereton left North Dakota on March 12, traveling through Wisconsin, stopping at a hotel room in Indiana for the night. The following day, Brereton traveled through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, finally arriving in Connecticut.
After probable communication between special agents and Brereton, the suspect was known to be on route and finally apprehended in New Haven, Connecticut.
When arrested, Brereton was found with his “North Dakota State University student ID, his U.S Passport, his military I.D, and the Apple Ipad Pro,” located within a backpack in his Ford Explorer.
A source The Spectrum spoke to for this story confirmed that Brereton is in the National Guard.
Attempts to contact the National Guard were unsuccessful.
In Brereton’s hotel room, sexual paraphernalia and lingerie was found, which was indicated in past chats to be bought by him for the purpose of being used when the known minor and him were to meet.
Upon learning of his arrest the fraternity has released a statement to The Spectrum stating, “The Phi Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity was shocked and disturbed to learn of the arrest of Christopher Brereton. Immediately upon learning of the arrest, Christopher was suspended, pending an investigation. Phi Chapter is in the process of gathering facts and will take appropriate action based on those facts.”
According to the Connecticut State Department of Corrections, Brereton is currently being held at New Haven Correctional Center on $200,000 bond.
Reporting done by Kalley Miller and Meghan Arbegast
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