Berkeley High alum, 19, posted stolen nude photos of underage girls online, police say

Police said Liam Burgmann also amassed more than 100 child pornography videos of youth between 3 and 12 years old.


Liam Burgmann booking photograph via the Berkeley Police Department
Liam Burgmann. Credit: BPD

A former Berkeley High School student is facing multiple felony charges this week after police say he hacked into the accounts of nine female BHS students, stole nude photographs from them and posted the images online.

Authorities say 19-year-old Liam Burgmann, a Berkeley resident, was found in possession of more than 600 images of child pornography, according to court papers. Police said the cache included 130 videos of children, between 3 and 12 years old, on a Kik social media account belonging to Burgmann. Work on the case is still underway, BPD said Thursday.

Burgmann’s attorney, David Cohen, told Berkeleyside shortly after publication that he has already filed a motion in an effort to have four of the six felony charges in the case thrown out. Cohen said a judge, on Thursday, had reduced his client’s bail from $1 million to $220,000.

“What they say on the first day is a flash grenade,” said Cohen, of the Dublin-based law firm Bay Area Criminal Lawyers. “We have to look at what actually is here.”


The investigation began May 10, according to court papers, when Berkeley High staff told police that someone had hacked into the Snapchat accounts of multiple female BHS students. That person had taken underage nude photographs from the hacked accounts and posted them on various social media sites, police said.

The culprit then texted the girls and “attempted to extort the victims for more nude photographs,” police said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Initially, all that was known of the hacker was that he went by the handle “willkonlo,” according to court papers.

BPD’s school resource officer — a police officer assigned to the BHS campus — worked with the FBI and secured 18 search warrants, which ultimately led them to Burgmann, according to police and court papers. Police said they were able to identify Burgmann, in part, by his IP address and Google Voice phone number, which he had used across multiple accounts.

Police said Burgmann “targeted” several private and public schools in Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties in his efforts to find information about underage female students and that he “successfully obtained underage photographs/videos by illegal means” from 17 Bay Area high school girls.

Cohen, Burgmann’s attorney, cautioned that all of the charges against his client remain unproven allegations. He said he had not yet been privy to most of the case materials compiled by authorities or been able to discuss the investigation with his client to “find out what the facts might be.” He planned to begin those conversations this weekend, he said, after Burgmann’s family posts bail to have him released from custody.

BPD asks anyone with information about the case to call the Youth Services Detail at
510-981-5715

As of Thursday, Berkeley police have not said whether the hacker specifically targeted girls he knew or whether they were strangers to him. Those relationships, said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesperson, are “still under investigation.” Police also have not said how many girls or schools were targeted in each jurisdiction.

White did tell Berkeleyside that most of the high school girls whose photographs were stolen were 15-17 years old.

According to court papers, police also found in Burgmann’s possession more than “100 names, emails, snapchats, Instagram’s, passwords, login usernames, phone numbers, birthdates, and addresses of people for the sole purpose of accessing their personal information/accounts to steal nude photographs.”

On Aug. 19, police secured a warrant for Burgmann’s arrest, according to BPD.

Police arrested Burgmann on Monday just before 6:10 p.m. at Marin and Euclid avenues, not far from his Berkeley Hills home, when an officer spotted him jogging in the neighborhood and recognized him as a wanted suspect, White said.

According to Burgmann’s LinkedIn page, he attended Berkeley High School from 2017 to 2021. At one point, he was the president of the Berkeley High Speech and Debate club, according to that group’s website.

The Berkeley Unified School District confirmed Thursday that Burgmann had attended Berkeley High but declined to say when or if he graduated. Trish McDermott, district spokesperson, said BHS staff had reported the incidents of hacking to police immediately after learning about the compromised social media accounts.

“The safety and the right to privacy of our students are priorities at BUSD, and we have found this incident to be serious and concerning,” McDermott said. “We have alerted our counseling department to be prepared to offer immediate support to impacted students and will continue to cooperate with the Berkeley police department as necessary.”

On Wednesday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Burgmann with six felonies: possession of more than 600 images of child pornography, including 10 or more images of children younger than 12; the fraudulent possession of the personal information of at least 10 victims; and four counts of computer access and fraud alleged to have taken place between Aug. 30, 2020, and May 26 of this year.

He was also charged with 14 misdemeanor counts, between March and August of this year, of distributing images of intimate body parts with the intent to cause distress. That crime was described by police in a prepared statement Thursday as “revenge porn.”

As of Thursday, Burgmann remained in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to court records online. He is scheduled for a motion hearing Oct. 25 at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.

Cohen told Berkeleyside his motion seeks to strike the four felony charges related to computer fraud because they are vague and unclear as they currently appear in the complaint. “Without more specificity,” Cohen argues in his motion, his client will be unable to prepare an appropriate defense.

Note: This story was updated after publication to include comments from David Cohen, Burgmann’s defense attorney, and from the Berkeley Unified School District. In addition, although Burgmann is in fact facing 14 allegations of “revenge porn,” Berkeleyside removed that term from the headline and opening sentence upon a closer review of the penal code until more information is available about the circumstances of the case.

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.