Wi-Fi Auto-Login Helped Identify Hate Crime Vandalism Suspects

Wi-Fi as a technology in general has brought on unprecedented levels of convenience to the world. It has even helped to identify suspects in a recent hate crime vandalism case in the US.

On the evening of May 23rd last year, four masked suspects were caught on camera spray painting Glenelg High School property in Howard County, MD. While the video itself was quite clear, catching the suspects drawing various lewd and racist graffiti in the act, their identities were impossible to discern due to the face covering.

How Did Wi-Fi Help Identify the Suspects?

What the suspects did not realize however, is that their smartphones automatically connected to the school Wi-Fi once they were in the area. Which of course, would only possible if they have an account or attend the school. Since each student has their own unique ID, their login times were recorded on the server and could be cross-referenced with the surveillance video.

What Happened After the Trial?

The teens left over 100 markings all over the school. Although after their arrest, they said that the initial intention was to simply write “class of 2018” but things simply “got out of hand” once they got there.

Since all four suspects were 18 during the crime, there was no publication ban on their names: Seth Taylor, Tyler Curtiss, Joshua Shaffer and Matthew Lipp. All four received sentencing earlier this year to varying degrees of punishment.

Seth Taylor got three years probation, plus 250 hours in community service and nine consecutive weekends in jail.

Tyler Curtiss, who had painted two swastikas has to spend two weekends in jail.

Matt Lipp, whose graffiti attacked Jewish, black and gay people, would serve 11 weekends (although sentenced for 16).

Josh Shaffer, who targeted the principal, received the most jail time at 18 weekends. Although he would only serve 12 of those.

Ron Perillo

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