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The Courts

Michigan Man Charged for Using Free WiFi 848

Nichole writes "Sam Peterson II was charged with unauthorized use of computer access for using a coffee shop's free WiFi. He is facing a 5 year felony charge and a $10,000 fine but apparently got off lucky and received only a $400 fine and 40 hours of community service because he was a first time offender. 'it seems few in the village of Sparta, Mich., were aware that using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection without the owner's permission--a practice known as piggybacking--was a felony. Each day around lunch time, Sam Peterson would drive to the Union Street Cafe, park his car and--without actually entering the coffee shop--check his e-mail and surf the Net. His ritual raised the suspicions of Police Chief Andrew Milanowski, who approached him and asked what he was doing. Peterson, probably not realizing that his actions constituted a crime, freely admitted what he was doing ... [the officer] didn't immediately cite or arrest Peterson, mostly because he wasn't certain a crime had been committed.'"

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