Waking up in the middle of the night to a masked stranger isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a pleasant surprise. A California couple woke up to just that, only with a strange, modern twist. The burglar wasn’t only trying to steal their valuables, but their Wi-Fi as well.
The thief, a 17-year-old whose identity will remain a secret, apparently had a track record for data-prowling. According to Fox News, a 911 call on Saturday had involved a similar situation. The police state that a woman called in a report of a teenage male loitering in her front yard.
He was trying to get her attention, and when she asked what he wanted, he asked for her router password. He claimed that he had run out of data, and needed to get a Wi-Fi connection. She told him sternly to leave, and he fled on a bicycle stolen from her backyard.
Surprisingly, he moved the bike from her yard before asking her for the password. Security footage showed him stealing the bike, and then proceeding towards her bedroom window to gain her attention.
The teen was not caught after this incident, but he took his chances again early Sunday morning.
He broke into the home of an elderly couple in Palo Alto, climbing in through their window. He did not burglarize their home, but he did wander into their bedroom to wake them up. Once again, he asked the strangers for their Wi-Fi password.
The intruder had his face covered, which only made him seem more terrifying — despite his nonlethal intentions. The couple chased him from the home before calling police and the boy sped away on the stolen bike. They then called police to report the crime, and officers found the teenager a little while later.
Gizmodo reports that he was found a block from the house, and police safely apprehended him. As a minor, his name and face are not being released to the public. However, he is being charged with prowling, residential burglary, and possibly petty theft. The stolen bike has been returned to its owners, and it is no longer serving as his getaway vehicle.
Petty theft and prowling are misdemeanors, whereas residential burglary is a felony. No more information on the case is available, and it will likely be kept under wraps due to his age. However, it does serve as a reminder to resist the temptation of petty crime. No free data is worth a criminal record.