WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

January 4, 2010 -

An Indiana man wanted on drug charges was tracked down in Canada, thanks to his World of Warcraft addiction.

Following a 2007 warrant issued for his arrest, Alfred Hightower of Howard County, Indiana had fled to Canada reports KokomoPerspective.com. Hightower was wanted on charges of dealing marijuana and both schedule III and IV controlled substances.

Detective Matt Roberson began tracking the wanted man using information obtained from a childhood friend of Hightower’s. Roberson eventually learned of Hightower’s dependence on WOW and subpoenaed Activision Blizzard for more information on the fugitive.

The publisher's cooperation seemed to surprise Roberson:

“They don’t have to respond to us, and I was under the assumption that they wouldn’t,” said Roberson. “It had been three or four months since I had sent the subpoena. I just put it in the back of my mind and went on to do other things. Then I finally got a response from them. They sent me a package of information. They were very cooperative. It was nice that they were that willing to provide information.”

After zeroing in on Hightower’s location using a combination of WOW billing address, IP address and Google Earth, Canadian authorities were alerted and Hightower was nabbed in Ottawa, Canada and deported to Minnesota, where U.S. Marshals held him for Howard County authorities.

The article also features a link to a WOW Armory listing for Hightower’s character, a Level 80 Tauren Shaman.


Thanks Dan!


Comments

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Ahhhhh They Walk Among Us......LMAO!

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Apologies in advance

Oh, I can only imagine what people were thinking when they got his address from Blizzard.

"Looks like it's time for us to start-" (insert glasses being slapped on here) "-a raid."

YEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Ok...I know I'm prolly gonna get flamed here.  Buuut...this story is more than a couple of days old...a lot of news came out over the weekend, and yet no posts until monday.  It's kinda like a lambast, as well.  I too noticed the change in the article.  This never would happen in the past.  I'm about ready to delete this site from my bookmarks.

 

Bang, You're dead.

Bang, You're dead.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

GP hasn't posted stories on the weekend for as long as I can remember..

I figure they take the weekends off, you know, like many other folks in America? No need to get your panties in a bunch over the fact that GP needs a break, as well.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Also don't forget this was a holiday weekend.

 

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Dennis posted on weekends, Pete does not.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Wow.. Have I really moved on that quickly? Hah. Did Dennis do it every weekend? Or was it kind of hit or miss with him?

For as long as I can remember, I never felt the urge to check GP on my off days, because I figured there was never going to be any new stories.

Either way, you guys deserve time off as much as any other person.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

He missed a day here and there but with few exceptions he had something up every single day he ran the site.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Begs the question, does Dennis still show up around here? I missed a few things while I was gone. Didn't even know we had a new editor here until... uh... I forget who told me. It was in the shoutbox, so I can't go back and look for it.

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

As someone who enjoys WoW, recreational drugs, and his privacy, this story makes me nothing but sad.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

That's what happens when you throw your information out there, the companies who get it do what they want with it, like turning over to the cops so they can grab you in Canada.  If you want your privacy, don't put your info out there.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Do you think you could generalize a little more?

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Well, as long as you aren't selling those drugs, you won't make it onto the US Marshall's watch list.

Frankly, the law is the law, and while some laws aren't exactly fair in regards to the use of some drugs, including Marijuana, you still need to obey them, or face the consequences.

The guy got what he deserved for breaking the law and than running from it. As far as privacy goes, I'd prefer the Government have the power to track down people running from the law. If it was too easy to run, what's stopping more violent criminals from skipping town after every murder or robbery they commit?

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Alcohol and cigarettes are two of my favorite recreational drugs, but since you are into pot, consider this: There are millions of people in America who are going to spark up today. They don't obey the law, and the only consequence they face is smoking more pot again tomorrow.

 

Of all the pot smokers you know, how many have ever been arrested for it? A small percentage, I'd wager, if you know any at all. It's a completely personal act that doesn't have to affect anyone but the smoker himself. I emphatically reject your suggestion that robbery and murder should be considered in the same category as a victimless "crime" such as recreational drug use.

 

But maybe I missed the real point of your post, because the way I read it, it kind of seemed like all you wanted to do was preach to me that I should base my morality on the letter of the law, and that sort of holier-than-thou shit has always turned me right off.

 

 

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Oh, no. I didn't want to preach about the morality of the law. Hell, if I could do it without losing my job, I'd be smoking pot right along side you. What I was trying to say is that IF you are caught breaking the law, you have to be ready to face the consequences, even if the law sucks.

Remember, though, this guy wasn't just some recreational drug user, he was on the US Marshall's watch list because he ran from the country after being arrested for having mass quantities and selling them.

Also, my comments about murder and robbery weren't intended to compare them to smoking pot. I was trying to say that If you make it too hard to find people after they've run from the law, what's stopping more violent criminals, like muderers, from just skipping town after they get caught? I'm glad this guy was caught, regardless of what crime he committed, because it shows me that the Marshalls are thinking outside the box when it comes to tracking some people down. It gives me a bit of confidence that if they were tracking a true threat to society, they'd be able to suceed in a timely manner.

That being said, I think the main point of my comment before was that if you are going to make the choice to willingly violate a law, no matter how stupid the law is, you have to be ready to face the consequences. I willingly choose to speed when I drive to work, and, if I'm caught, I am ready to face the consequences and resulting fine.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

I think Penny Arcade said it best: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/1/1/

Well played, Blizzard, Canadian authorities, and Tycho and Gabe.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Game on, brothers and sisters.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." -- Ben Franklin Game on, brothers and sisters.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

"I hope he logged out at an inn"

Hilarious!

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Hrm.  I just noticed something interesting about GP's coverage.

The rather charged word 'addiction' was inserted by GP, not the original piece.  So the linked article was more neutral then GP in this case since it only described him as a 'fan' and GP jumped to the 'addiction' conclusion.  Is this not the type of thing we normally jump on the press for doing?

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

Not to mention, as Frank Herbert said in Children of Dune, "If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments."

The word addiction subtly shifts the blame to World of Warcraft, rather than correctly identifying the obsessed fan as the one with a problem.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

I noticed that too. I thought maybe someone was trying to make a pun of some sort, as the guy was wanted for drug-related charges. In any case, yes, I think that is exactly what we jump on the mainstream press for doing.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

At first I was worried about a possible violation of rights, but then I saw it was a Shaman. Good riddance. 

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

*gasp!* That's Classist!!

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

It's only classist if it's not true.
And we all know it's true.
 

"If you really want to enslave people, tell them you are going to give them Total Freedom." - L. Ron Hubbard

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

But it is not true, Pallies, and Death Knights on the other hand....

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

I guess the questions I would have:

a) Did the police go through proper channels or was this an informal request? (since there was a subpoena, I assume the former).

b) In what way were they 'not required to help'?  Generally one must answer a subpoena, so in what way was it 'optional'?

c) How does this interact with Blizzard's privacy and corperate policies?  What is the treshhold for giving out private information?  If they were 'not required' then they were not compelled to answer.  How offical/complelling must a request be for them to 'help'?  One would assume they do not give out personal data to anyone phoning up and asking.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

"But this is the Internet, and Blizzard is in California. Roberson’s subpoena was nothing more than a politely worded request, considering the limits of his law enforcement jurisdiction and the ambiguity of the online world."

Does that explain the first two questions at least Neeneko?

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: WOW Playing Fugitive Busted with Help of Blizzard

When it said he was "Dependent" on WoW, I kind of assumed his character would have better gear..

 
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Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Andrew EisenHave gamers ever tried to ban a product? Can you be more specific? I'm not clear what you're getting at.07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Mattsworknamethey should have expected some kind of blow back. But I didn't participate in that specific action07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MattsworknameAndrew Youd have to ask others about that, I actualyl didn't have much beef with them till last year, so I can't speak to there history. I simply feel that gamesutra chose politics over gaming and chose to make enimies of it's prime audiance. For that,07/28/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenI'm still not clear on how Gamasutra was lacking in accountability or what it was lacking in accountability for.07/28/2015 - 8:38pm
MattsworknameAndrew: You and I agree on most of that. I don't diagree that there should ahve been other actions taken. Now, I do want to point something out, casue Im not sure if it's happened. Have gamers ever tried to have a product banned?07/28/2015 - 8:37pm
Mattsworknameimproperly. Neither is good, but one is on the edge of censorship to me, while the other is demanding some level of accountability from public media provider. but thats just my view point07/28/2015 - 8:36pm
MattsworknameEZK: You can treat it as bullying or what not, As I've pointed out, I didn't like either practice, I made that clear. But I do hold some different between trying to pull a product from the shelves, and calling out a media outlet that you feel has acted07/28/2015 - 8:35pm
E. Zachary KnightMatt, So you feel confident enough to make the call that petitioning target to remove GTAV is "bullying and threatening" but not confident enough to make the call on Intel/Gamasutra. Finding it hard to take your gripes seriously.07/28/2015 - 8:27pm
Andrew EisenAs for gamers holding media sites accountable? If you mean, how to respond to opinion pieces you disagree with, yes, there are tons of more appropriate means.07/28/2015 - 8:27pm
Andrew EisenAgain, no one likes being lumped in with the bad apples. Gamers or feminists so lets all strive not to do that, yes? Could the petitioners gone about it a better way? Yes, it could have been more factual in its petition, for starters.07/28/2015 - 8:25pm
 

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