Pawn Shop Discovery Prompts Pornography Arrest

A routine computer sale at a Biloxi pawn shop led police to a suspected child pornographer.

Registered sex offender Donald Wayne Hankins is in the Harrison County Jail awaiting trial. He's charged with the sexual exploitation of children and faces up to 30 years in prison.

A rather unusual discovery in early November, gave police all the evidence they needed.

Kim Strickland knows enough about computers to open a few files and run basic programs. A few weeks ago, she was checking out a laptop that someone sold to Biloxi Pawn and Auto.

And that's when she made the disgusting discovery.

"When it came out, time for it to go on the shelf, we pulled it out and just played. Going through and seeing what was on it. And came across some pictures that were of child pornography," said Strickland.

Her brother and co worker, Clint Eaves, was equally shocked.

"I've been working in the business now for 10 years. And I've never seen nothing like that in my life.  Disgusting, very disgusting."

The employees pulled the computer off the sales floor and called the police.

That tip from the pawn shop quickly led Biloxi investigators to Donald Wayne Hankins, a registered sex offender with criminal convictions in Nebraska and Florida.

"It's the sexual exploitation of children. And basically it states that you're not allowed to possess, transmit or receive images of child pornography. By statute it says anybody under the age of 18 having sex with someone over the age of 18," investigator Donnie Dobbs said.

A data recovery procedure found 117 images of child pornography on the computer. If convicted, Hankins faces up to 30 years in prison.

Kim Strickland did not enjoy discovering the child porn images, but she's glad the suspect was tracked down.

"I'm just really glad we called. Because if we'd just deleted it and let it go, he'd still be free."