Sunday, January 23, 2011

Police hoax trail led to store's wireless account

Dreaming Ant Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh
Jordan MilesAn investigation into a phony news release e-mailed on distorted Pittsburgh police union letterhead led detectives to a Bloomfield video rental store this week because the release was sent to media outlets through the store's wireless Internet address, police wrote in an affidavit of probable case. A wireless address owned by the Dreaming Ant on Liberty Avenue was used to create an e-mail account on Jan. 7 and transmit the fake letter three days later, according to the affidavit, which police used to search the business Wednesday evening. Police took the Dreaming Ant's computer and a wireless Internet router, but have not said what, if anything, they recovered from either. Police are probing the bogus five-paragraph letter because, they said, it could constitute offenses including trademark counterfeiting, identity theft and fraud, Detective James Glick wrote in his application for the search warrant, signed by District Judge James J. Hanley Jr. The warrant offered new glimpses into the probe of the fake news release, which falsely claimed the Fraternal Order of Police no longer supported three officers under investigation for the beating of Homewood teen Jordan Miles last January. Union president Dan O'Hara's name and that of the union vice president appeared on the letter, which Mr. O'Hara has said makes them victims. "The letter was fraudulent and not sent with the authority of the Fraternal Order of Police," the affidavit says. "The letter was sent to multiple media outlets calling for a press conference and misrepresented the position and or actions of the organization." The letter also listed a phone number and a Google e-mail address that police said was created using the Dreaming Ant's wireless Internet connection. Someone then sent the letter through the new e-mail address and logged off about 20 minutes later, police said. - Sadie Gurman

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