Using free wireless at library described as theft

Brian Tanner was sitting in his Acura Integra recently outside the Palmer, Alaska Library playing online games when a Palmer police pulled up behind him.

The officer asked him what he was doing.

Tanner, 21, was using the library’s wireless Internet connection. He was told that his activity constituted theft of services and was told to leave. The next day, Sunday, police spotted him there again.

“It was kind of like, ‘Well gee whiz, come on,’ ” police Lt. Tom Remaley said.

The police officer confiscated Tanner’s laptop in order to inspect what he may have been downloading, Remaley said. Remaley on Friday said he hasn’t looked inside the computer yet; he’s putting together a search warrant application.

Alaska state troopers had chased Tanner off a few times at other locations, Remaley said.

Tanner said that was true. He has a device on his keychain that sniffs out wireless networks. When he found one, he would park in his neighborhood and use his $800 Dell laptop to hop on the Web. But worried neighbors summoned the troopers, who told him to park in a public place.

“I went to the public library because I go there during the day,” Tanner said.
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