Friday, March 28, 2008

Stupid "Hacker" gets his deserts

A computer hacker was sentenced to three years in prison for placing a phony emergency call that led police to storm a family home at gunpoint. It marked the first prosecution in Orange County, in South California, for a prank known as "swatting" that involves sending SWAT teams - special weapons and tactics units - on fruitless chases, said county district attorney's spokeswoman Farrah Emami today.

Randal Ellis, 19, pleaded guilty yesterday in Orange County Superior Court to five felony counts, including computer access and fraud, false imprisonment by violence and falsely reporting a crime. He was given prison time and ordered to pay $US14,765 in restitution, most of which will go to the county Sheriff's Department.

Ellis, of Mukilteo, Washington, placed a call to the emergency line 911 last March, at first claiming to report a drug overdose and then alleging a possible murder, investigators said. Prosecutors said he hacked the 911 system and transmitted phony information that appeared to show he was calling from a Lake Forest home.

A sheriff's SWAT team accompanied by police dogs and a helicopter descended on the home, where a couple and their two toddlers were sleeping, Emami said. Doug Bates, awakened by a noise, thought there were prowlers outside and grabbed a kitchen knife. When he checked the backyard, he found SWAT team deputies pointing assault rifles at him. Bates and his wife were handcuffed until authorities determined the call was a hoax.

"That very easily could have turned deadly," Emami said. Ellis was arrested last October and had remained jailed since then.


Ohio: 85-year-old opens fire on thugs: "Raleigh Hensley's trip to "town" Tuesday ended with men taking his wallet with $5,500 and roughing him up, but the 85-year-old didn't give up his money without a fight and even shot at the fleeing car. Butler County Sheriff's detectives announced today, March 27, they have the culprits, both of Hamilton, behind bars who allegedly robbed Hensley. They are Timothy Alfred, 44, of Millville Ave., charged with robbery and Mark Collins, 45, of Sunset Drive, charged with complicity to robbery. Hensley, who has lived on Darrtown Road more than 50 years, said he went to Hamilton Tuesday afternoon, March 26, and stopped by a west side liquor store to purchase a "jug of wine." "There were three or four guys around there," Hensley said. "They saw me pay with the money in my billfold. "I didn't notice them following me home," Hensley said. "When I got out to get the mail, the red car sort of blocked me and they shoved me, trying to get my billfold. Eventually, the men were able to swipe the wallet and jumped back in the car speeding away toward McGonigle, Hensley said "I got my gun and shot a couple times at the tires," Hensley said. He added he has been told him today he may have hit his mark. Butler County Detective Jason Rosser said a car believed to have been driven by the culprits has been located and is being processed."

Texas Woman Shoots Robber, Husband During Home Invasion: "A woman shot and killed an intruder and accidentally wounded her husband in a northeast Harris County home invasion, investigators told KPRC Local 2 Thursday. According to deputies, a couple found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun in their apartment in the Northshore Meadows complex in the 300 block of Audrey Lane shortly before midnight. A man had just broken into their apartment and was making demands. "The husband got into a physical altercation with the suspect," Harris County Deputy A.J. Kelly said. "The wife was able to retrieve a handgun that they had up in the room and she fired shots, striking and killing the suspect." The husband was also shot. Deputies said he was hit in the arm. They believe he may have been hit by friendly fire from his wife. The couple told investigators that they did not know the man or why they were the targets of a home invasion."

Israeli police guard their patch: "The Israel Police opposes a bill that would grant additional legal protection to homeowners, businessmen and farmers who shoot at intruders, because of concern it would encourage people to take the law into their own hands. "I would not like to put such power in the hands of private individuals," police Supt. Liat Lav told the Knesset Law Committee on Wednesday. "Policemen themselves do not like to shoot. There are many stages along the way before they can open fire." The panel is preparing the bill for second and final readings in the plenum. The bill is known as the "Shai Dromi Law" because it was inspired by an incident in January 2007 in which Dromi was indicted for murder for killing a Beduin who had trespassed on his Negev ranch to steal sheep. The incident led to a public outcry justifying Dromi's actions, especially because of the increasing number of thefts in the agricultural sector."

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