Federal and state law enforcement agencies are joining forces to combat computer crimes.
Officials announced today that the Cyber-Crimes Strike Force will have a staff of seven: four from the FBI, two from the state attorney general's office, and one from the Virginia State Police.
They will work out of the F-B-I's office in Richmond.
The strike force also will work closely with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office, which formed its own "Blue Ridge Thunder" task force to track down online pedophiles in 1998.
U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty said at a news conference that the partnership will help agencies share intelligence and bring computer criminals to justice more quickly.
Don Thompson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Richmond, said the strike force will go after hackers, scam artists, identity thieves, sexual predators and purveyors of child pornography.
Thompson said that in addition to investigating crimes, strike force members will educate the public and businesses on cyber-crime prevention and the importance of reporting such crimes.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)