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How a sheriff’s sergeant went rogue, part 3


About this four-part series
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

THIS IS RENO began seeking answers into the criminal case against former Sheriff’s Sergeant Dennis Carry more than a year ago. In that time, we were continually met with resistance from the Reno Police Department, the City of Reno, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Reno City Attorney’s Office. Those entities denied access to information and individuals involved with this case and failed to follow Nevada’s public records laws on multiple occasions. Officials would not even confirm public information or respond to simple questions. Public records, however, including the criminal complaint and affidavit filed against Carry, reveal extensive details in this case, in addition to records obtained from local courts and even records obtained in partnership with Madison365.com in Wisconsin. Names of alleged victims in this case are not reported out of respect for their privacy. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty. Carry, through his attorney, would not comment on the allegations against him.

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The break-ins

Dennis Carry, former Washoe County Sheriff’s sergeant.

Former Sheriff’s Sergeant Dennis Carry’s position with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office was to investigate internet crimes — sex crimes in particular. In addition to his alternate undercover identity of Dennis James, he also had access to equipment to gain access to local Wi-Fi networks.

This was in addition to using “Dropbox accounts, on-line and social media, [and Carry] had access to a multitude of platforms of electronic storage, computers, cell phones, and tablets,” Reno Police, who investigated Carry, wrote in a nearly 200-page-long criminal affidavit.

He also carried a Pelican case with surveillance equipment, including a Wi-Fi sniffer device that can monitor MAC addresses being used on Wi-Fi networks.

Carry entered the Reno Justice Court after hours on May 22, 2018, RPD Detective Trenton Johnson claimed in the affidavit filed against Carry. Carry told Johnson he entered the court, presumably with his Pelican case and surveillance equipment, to investigate somebody allegedly downloading child porn at Java Jungle.

“At 9:13 p.m. … while the court was closed and again Dennis was off duty and not logged on with dispatch, Dennis’ access badge showed that he entered into the Reno Justice Court at 1 South Sierra Street through the judges [sic] entrance to the basement parking area,” Johnson wrote. “His badge activity shows that he then accessed the judges [sic] elevator … then accessed the third floor of the building…”

That part of the building has chambers for family court judges, including former Judge David Humke. Humke in early 2019 was ordered by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline to step down as judge after being suspended more than once for mishandling cases. He was questioned by Johnson as part of the Carry investigation.

Humke’s chambers, and others’, “has open access to multiple offices that are unsecured containing variations of ‘FILED’ stamps, embossing stamps for the Second Judicial District Court, certified copy stamps from ‘Jacqueline Bryant, Clerk of the Second Judicial District Court,’ and red ‘SEALED’ stamps that are identical to the ones used on Dennis and [his first wife’s] Decree of Divorce, Joint Petition for Divorce, and other divorce initiating documents provided to me and the San Francisco Family Court by Dennis as purportedly real,” Johnson wrote.

Carry was documented by his iPhone’s location services leaving the courthouse at 11:01 p.m. Johnson said Carry went to the WCSO on Parr Boulevard and “created/downloaded two PDF documents. These documents … depicted a 2002 and 2001 quitclaim signed by Judge David Humke. The 2001 quitclaim signature of Judge Humke is an exact match to the signature on what was later identified as the purported decree of divorce used by Dennis to obtain his marriage certificate with [his new wife] the following day,” Johnson wrote.

“Dennis’ iPhone showed activity consistent with information gathering related to potential Wi-Fi networks in the immediate area of the Reno Justice Court.”

Carry married what would be his second wife two days later in San Francisco. The same day, he is shown by detectives to have been texting his first wife, telling her he was in Jackpot, Nevada. He allegedly texted his first wife a photo of Cactus Pete’s Casino in Jackpot after conducting a Yahoo image search for the casino.

Soon after, his story between his two wives was falling apart. They connected and figured out Carry was lying to them. His first wife then contacted law enforcement, in late 2018, for help. By early 2019, both wives were cooperating with investigators.

Investigators can’t verify documents

Gaining access to the courthouse was only part of the ruse, investigators wrote. They also said he created other fake divorce documents on his WCSO computer that had Humke’s alleged signature, a ‘SEALED’ stamp and other information indicating the documents had been, supposedly, created by the court. 

The documents, however, did not have requisite employee initials or signatures on them, but they indicated he had divorced his first wife in April of 2018, detectives noted. Johnson said Carry sent those documents to his second wife; she, in turn, forwarded them to Johnson on February 10, 2019.

“Here is a PDF copy of the divorce documents,” she wrote to the detective. “Dennis has a certified copy with the court’s embossed stamp on the final decree.”

Johnson went to the courthouse to verify the documents. He was told to file a public records request with the court. He did.

“I received an email from [then-District Court Clerk, now Assistant Reno City Manager] Jacqueline Bryant stating that the listed divorce case number does not exist with their courts. The email continued that neither Dennis Carry nor [his first wife] had any divorce documentation on file in Washoe County and that no such documentation was filed as ‘sealed’ or ‘super sealed.’”

Johnson would later verify with court officials the documents were fake. An initial and signature on the divorce documents was the name of J. Garca. A court official said no such person works in the filing office.

Detectives interview Carry

Detectives, armed now with information that appeared Carry had forged court documents, first interviewed Carry at the South Virginia Street Napa-Sonoma on February 13, 2019.

“Dennis consented to an audio recorded interview,” Johnson wrote. “Dennis stated that no one at his department had compelled him to meet with me and that he understood he had rights as any civilian would.”

Carry allegedly told detectives he created an E-Flex account with the Second Judicial Court because he could not find his divorce documents on the court’s website.

“Dennis said that he believed the reason he could not find any information on the website was because he had requested the filing to be sealed. He said he did this out of discretion and that he did not want Reno Cop Watch to have this information,” Johnson wrote.

Reno Cop Watch is an anonymously run Facebook page that documents activities of local law enforcement. Reached by Facebook Messenger, the page’s owner refused to reveal their identity. 

“This page was born out of compassion and empathy for others. This page is dedicated to police accountability and the call for justice for the victims and their families,” they said. “Our intention is not to antagonize, provoke or interfere with police, rather we believe that a higher level of vigilance will benefit all members of society including the police.”

The page, however, according to a statement made by Carry to Johnson, appears to have rankled local law enforcement officers to the point that they can have their identities sealed by the court.

Local business Wi-Fis surveilled 

Johnson informed Carry that his access to the courthouse might get revoked as part of the investigation. 

“Dennis gave multiple scenarios where he had been in the court buildings downtown,” Johnson wrote. “He then was specifically asked about his badge being used to access the court buildings. Dennis then stated that they use the court for surveillance. Dennis then described an investigation that he had conducted in the courthouse related to a sex offender, William Baraja, who was using the public internet at the Java Jungle to download child pornography.”

He was monitoring Baraja’s online activity from the courthouse, Carry allegedly said.

“[Carry] referenced the aforementioned investigation and said he would have had to have found a place to set up a large Pelican case and hours of sitting near the offices with windows facing the river,” Johnson wrote.

The problem: Baraja doesn’t exist. Carry’s keycard was shown to have gained access to Reno Justice Court three times. 

“The access badge showed to be used on a path that leads to the judge’s elevator lobby and then on to the third-floor where the Family Division of the Second Judicial District Court is located,” Johnson wrote. “Dennis purported to have been in the courthouse at 1 South Sierra Street on May 22, 2018, the Reno Justice Court, on the third floor (the Second Judicial District Court) conducting surveillance into a known local sex offender he only identified as William Baraja who was downloading child pornography from a local Wi-Fi network.”

Carry purportedly told Johnson why he was in the courthouse the night before he went to San Francisco to marry his second wife.

“He specifically cited having information that the suspect’s download activity was occurring on Tuesday nights and into Wednesday mornings,” Johnson reported. “He said that this was the reason he was in the courthouse that night (Tuesday), the night before he left to be married in San Francisco, California.”

“Dennis maintains that he was conducting a lawful … surveillance operation into a location believed to be used by a known suspect who was downloading child pornography.”

In addition, Carry issued WCSO subpoenas to Charter/Spectrum and AT&T to gain access to local business Wi-Fi networks, Johnson said, under the guise of “child endangerment.” 

Those businesses were Java Jungle (now Cafe Capello), Sierra Tap House and The Eddy. Both companies complied with the subpoenas to produce subscriber information to include account information, screen names, Wi-Fi passwords, email addresses, billing information and service addresses.

“In addition to this subpoena activity related to the Wi-Fi networks in the downtown Reno area, Dennis’ iPhone showed activity consistent with information gathering related to potential Wi-Fi networks in the immediate area of the Reno Justice Court,” Johnson wrote.

All businesses are near the Reno Justice Court. A representative from one of the businesses said they were never notified of the subpoenas, nor were they ever advised of the surveillance allegedly carried out by Carry. RPD did not respond to a question as to why they did not notify the businesses of these activities after being discovered.

The missing William Baraja

Johnson could not verify Baraja being a real person.

“A local search of our police databases did not show any history of a William Baraja or like spellings of this name associated to any child pornography investigations,” he noted. 

Crime tips likewise could not be found to support an investigation into a William Baraja.

“Dennis maintains that he was conducting a lawful investigation during his time in the Courthouse by conducting a surveillance operation into a location believed to be used by a known suspect who was downloading child pornography,” Johnson wrote. 

But going into Reno Justice Court after hours constituted burglary, he added. 

“There is probable cause to believe that Dennis Carry committed the crime of Burglary by unlawfully entering the Second Judicial District Court offices and courtrooms at 1 South Sierra St., Reno, NV on the night of May 22, 2018 for the purpose of created forged documents which would show that he is purportedly divorced from [his first wife],” Johnson wrote.

Other burglary charges were added for entering WCSO “with the intent to forge additional divorce documentation related to this case,” the detective wrote.

And another burglary charge was added against Carry because, Johnson said, Carry placed a hidden video camera at the WCSO to record conversations people, including FBI agents, were having about him. 

Read part four tomorrow: “The integrity of the investigation.”

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.