During the recent sentencing of the Tabooless administrator, investigators detailed the steps taken during the investigation. According to two investigators, they caught the 50-year-old through what non-technical readers would refer to as “catfishing.” Long story short, they posed as a woman who seduced the admin, slowly chipping away at his anonymity.
The case began sometime last year. Sources have given me varying dates, likely due to the fact that more than one investigation led to the administrators arrest. In one narrative, the police started investigating the site after a drug bust in Germany that somehow connected to Tabooless. The other story began with a tip given to the Hannover public prosecutor (and police). The tip led to the discovery of the general location of the admin named “Commander.” Given that the police reportedly blindly accepted this as a fact without seeing it for themselves, the tipster likely worked for or with law enforcement in the past. But the tip led to an investigation that ended the chatroom. The police immedietly targetted Commander for multiple reasons.
Commander had apparently made a name for himself on forums of the same nature. The authorities recognized his name from Elysium and other forums. Three undercover investigators joined the site as regular or semi-regular users. One woman and two men. They planned to catch Commander’s attention. According to information revealed in the courtroom, Commander made one of the first moves by initiating contact with the female undercover investigator. Although Commander, 50, lived in Albstadt in an on/off relationship with a woman, he quickly found himself “attracted” to the identity the investigators had created.
Commander talked to the female investigator on almost a daily basis, both on and off Tabooless. With the help of a makeup team from a theater in Hannover, the police (or simply the female investigator), worked on creating pictures they knew Commander would find appealing. They catered to his “specific fetishes.” Investigators knew the man had “sado-masochistic” fetishes and preference for girls aged 10-12. Some of the information used in the courtroom sounded as if it had originated from an inside source. One of the man’s two former wives likely spoke to the police—given that his daughter fully cooperated with investigators.
After several months of conversations focused on starting a new life together, the undercover investigator sent Commander an encrypted message that contained her phone number. She hoped that, at some point, he would call. Even a call from a burner would help in identifying the man. To the police’s surprise, the phone rang not long after she had sent the message. He had called her using his real phone number. The number had been registered under his name. They had finally identified him. For several weeks, the police listened to his phone calls and watched his house. He rarely left.
Investigators wanted to capture him and maintain access to the server. Not unlike the police’s takedown during Operation Bayonet or the method used to seize the Germany in the Deepweb servers. So they waited until Commander got online to chat with the undercover detective before raiding the house. The raid occurred exactly as expected and the police are using the information taken from the account to investigate additional suspects.