Power line, meet hook
Having the power shut off in your home due to lack of payments can really motivate you to pay your bills—or perhaps to begin siphoning electricity with a meat hook.
A recent report from Reuters describes a middle-aged man in Germany who has been stealing electricity from a high-voltage overhead transmission line using a run-of-the-mill meat hook. After getting cut off by the power company for not paying his bills, the energy thief decided he would acquire the necessary power on his own; he attached a meat hook to the end of a long cable, and hurled the hook onto an overhead power line 150 meters from his house. By routing some of the electricity to his meter box, the man powered his home illegally for an entire month before anyone noticed.
A New Jersey prosecutor is filing felony theft charges against a 25-year-old man. This is not news. What is news is that the object the defendant is charged with stealing isn’t an object at all—it’s a domain name. The AP reports:
Daniel Goncalves, 25, of Union, hacked into an online account belonging to one of the owners of the P2P.com domain name, New Jersey State Police said Monday. He allegedly shifted ownership to himself and resold the Web site address on eBay to Madsen, a Los Angeles Clippers forward who did not know the name was stolen.
Goncalves, who works for an online research firm, was arrested Thursday on felony charges of theft by unlawful taking or deception, identity theft and computer theft. Julian Castellanos, a state police spokesman, said each of the three counts carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Goncalves, who did not respond to a reporter’s phone calls, is free after posting a $60,000 cash bail.
Plenty of charges have been brought for crimes taking place on the Internet—identity theft, soliciting illegal sex, the list goes on. But this is the first time felony theft charges have been brought for a domain name (and the potential piece of the Internets that it leads to).
That’s not to say that domain name stealing has never occurred—let’s not be naive. But until now, arrests for the crime have numbered in the zero range. Should the charges hold up, and should Goncalves be convicted, let the floodgates open!
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Here’s one the federal courts don’t hear every day: The relatives of Geronimo, the famed Apache warrior who challenged U.S. forces in the 1800s, are suing Skull and Bones, Yale’s notorious secret society that counts George W. Bush and John Kerry as members, alleging that its members stole the military leader’s remains decades ago and have been hiding them ever since.
The suit was filed this past Tuesday, which not-so-coincidentally happens to be the 100th anniversary of Geronimo’s death (who says litigation can’t be done with a little dramatic flair?). According to the AP:
Geronimo’s great-grandson Harlyn Geronimo said his family believes Skull and Bones members took some of the remains in 1918 from a burial plot in Fort Sill, Okla., to keep in its New Haven clubhouse, a crypt. The alleged graverobbing is a longstanding legend that gained some validity in recent years with the discovery of a letter from a club member that described the theft.