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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 18, 2007 at 12:13 PM

Mukilteo hacker busted for SWAT hoax

Just in time for Halloween, a scary story that a reader passed along:

A teenager in Mukilteo was arrested for allegedly spoofing authorities in Orange County, Calif., into sending a team of heavily armed police into a randomly picked family’s home.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Randal T. Ellis, 19, was arrested Friday, eight months after the prank.

Ellis allegedly manipulated AOL and Verizon systems and pretended to report a killer on the loose at the home, where a SWAT team accompanied by dogs and a helicopter stormed a house and handcuffed at gunpoint the parents of two toddlers.

Police allege he’s done the same thing in Washington, Arizona and Pennsylvania since 2005. From the story:

He was in the process of being extradited to California on Tuesday and was charged with false imprisonment by violence and assault with an assault weapon by proxy.

The crimes carry a possible prison sentence of 18 years.

I didn’t know we had laws protecting us from that sort of violence and assault, and I especially didn’t expect to learn of them from Los Angeles.

Comments | More in | Topics: Security & privacy, Web

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