A Halloween enthusiast known for spending tens of thousands of dollars to decorate his home into a haunted house has been arrested on charges of having child pornography, authorities say.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office took Franki Crisci, 49, of Boynton Beach, into custody Wednesday on multiple counts of possession of obscene materials depicting child conduct, according to an arrest affidavit.
Crisci’s home made headlines for his elaborate $26,000 Halloween display in 2008, the same year the Palm Beach Post named Crisci's home one of "The 6 Most Haunted Houses in Palm Beach County," according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Crisci began decorating his house for Halloween in 2002, and over the years, the display grew to 65 tombstones with skeletons, goblins, monsters and severed body parts.
“This place was packed, I mean it got to the point where the neighborhood had to hire an off-duty police officer to patrol because it was just so much traffic in here," neighbor Karl Legenbauer recalled.
The house was an attraction on Halloween, but Wednesday morning, Crisci had someone else at the door: the police.
“And all of a sudden I heard this noise, and this loud banging and ‘open the door,’ screaming, ‘open the door,’” Legenbauer said.
The child pornography investigation began on Sept. 6 of this year, when the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was assigned to the case, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s probable cause affidavit.
The task force received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about an anonymous someone using Yahoo’s Flickr photo-sharing website to upload several child pornography images, the affidavit said. Yahoo reported the incident.
Authorities traced the incident to Crisci by subpoenaing AT&T, his Internet provider, for subscriber information to learn Crisci’s identity, the affidavit said. On Sept. 19, the task force received two additional child-pornography-related tips regarding Crisci from Boynton Beach police and Yahoo.
On Wednesday, authorities used a search warrant in the case and contacted Crisci, who “admitted to possessing several images involving the sexual conduct of a child,” the affidavit said.
Crisci said he saved the images on a CD, which he stored with several other discs in a safe in his bedroom, the affidavit said. Authorities recovered the CD and determined it contained child-pornography images of girls engaging in sex acts, the affidavit said.
Crisci is out of jail on bond, but no one answered the door at his home Friday.