Sting of Warcraft

Thumbnail image for world_of_warcraft.jpg

?From the Kokomo Perspective (courtesy of Kotaku):

Two weeks ago, Howard County Sheriff’s Department deputy Matt
Roberson tracked down a wanted fugitive through one of the most
popular games on the Internet — World of Warcraft. And he got his
man. …

In this case, online gamers were playing alongside Alfred
Hightower, a man wanted on charges of dealing in a schedule III
controlled substance and dealing in a schedule IV controlled
substance, and two charges of dealing in marijuana. A warrant was
issued for his arrest in 2007.

The sheriff’s department enlisted the aid of the U.S. Marshals
this summer to track down a number of fugitives as part of
Operation: Falcon, and Hightower was among those targeted.
Unfortunately, authorities were unable to locate him. Roberson soon
found out why. The suspect had skipped the country. …

With the help of sheriff’s major Steve Rogers, Roberson began
gathering information on Hightower through a number of sources.
That is how they discovered that their suspect was a World of
Warcraft fan.

“We received information that this guy was a regular player of
an online game, which was referred to as ‘some warlock and witches’
game,” said Roberson. “None of that information was sound enough to
pursue on its own, but putting everything we had together gave me
enough evidence to send a subpoena to Blizzard Entertainment. I
knew exactly what he was playing — World of Warcraft. I used to
play it. It’s one of the largest online games in the world.” …

Blizzard did more than cooperate. It gave Roberson everything he
needed to track down Hightower, including his IP address, his
account information and history, his billing address, and even his
online screen name and preferred server. From there it was a simple
matter to zero in on the suspect’s location. …

Roberson and Rogers contacted the U.S. Marshals, who immediately
notified the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border
Services Agency. According to Rogers, Canadian authorities located
Hightower in Ottawa, Ontario, and arranged to have him deported.
The marshals picked up the suspect in Minneapolis, and Howard
County has until Jan. 5 to bring him back here to face charges.

So, lessons:
? Don’t play World of Warcraft if you are a known drug dealer
? Blizzard will happily give your info to the police when asked
? Blizzard’s full of narcs, man
? This dude paid $15 a month to get arrested