A large supply of pornographic pictures, videotapes and films depicting children in sexual acts has been confiscated from a Simi Valley home, Simi Valley police said Thursday.
Police estimated $21,000 to be the value of about 100 videotapes, 58 reels of 8mm film and several 35mm slides found Wednesday at the house, in the 1300 block of Sycamore Drive. Also confiscated were three videotape recorders, editing machines and other movie production equipment, Lt. Rick Terborch said.
The material was discovered unexpectedly when police searched the home after a fire, Terborch said, adding that it was the largest quantity of pornographic material confiscated in the city in several years.
Terborch said no action was taken against the owner of the house, Ronald S. Pattee, because the possession of child pornography is not illegal. He said, however, that police are investigating whether Pattee produced or distributed the material, which would be a crime.
Pattee, 51, an insurance underwriter, said in a telephone interview that he obtained the material 15 years ago for his own use. Pattee said he did not produce or distribute any of it.
Pattee said of the material taken from his home: "I often thought of getting rid of it but I never did."
The material was found Wednesday afternoon by a uniformed Simi police officer who was looking through the house to see whether anyone had been injured by smoke from a kitchen fire, which was put out by Ventura County firemen, police said.
The officer then notified Simi detectives, who raided the home that evening after obtaining a search warrant, Terborch said. Pattee was not home at the time, he said.