[ISN] Prosecutors say crime spree wreaked havoc

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu May 09 2002 - 00:03:11 PDT

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    [While this article has little to do with information security, it 
    lists of some of the 50 odd acts of vandalism/terrorism that Joseph 
    Konopka and his band of vandals commited over the past three years. 
    Knowing this, you have to wonder what Konopka had in mind with the 
    cyanide, laptops, and CTA subway tunnels in Chicago.   - WK]
    of the Journal Sentinel staff
    Last Updated: May 7, 2002
    As the self-proclaimed Dr. Chaos threw barbed wire into the electrical
    system of a central Wisconsin power station, he warned his disciples
    to close their eyes.
    One of them didn't listen.
    A fireball exploded, blinding him for 20 minutes, said Marquette
    County District Attorney Richard Dufour, who learned of the incident
    while helping federal authorities investigate a three-year trail of
    The November 1998 incident resulted in power failures in 2,000 homes -
    just one of 53 Wisconsin crimes that federal prosecutors attribute to
    Joseph D. Konopka, 25, formerly of De Pere.
    A federal grand jury in Milwaukee on Tuesday returned a 13-count
    indictment against Konopka. He is accused of conspiring to wreak havoc
    through 13 counties and causing $800,000 in damage. If convicted, he
    could face up to 30 years in prison.
    Konopka remains in custody in Chicago, where he was arrested in March
    after being caught with cyanide - a potentially deadly chemical -
    underground near the Chicago subway system.
    Authorities say his Wisconsin crime spree was far more extensive.  
    Konopka and others are charged with causing about 28 power failures
    and 20 other service interruptions at power plants throughout
    Wisconsin, U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic said at a news conference
    Tuesday. About 30,000 customers were left in the dark.
    Konopka also is accused of setting buildings on fire, disrupting radio
    and television broadcasts, disabling an air traffic control system,
    selling counterfeit software and damaging the computer system of an
    Internet service provider.
    Biskupic wouldn't attribute Konopka's alleged acts to a particular
    motive, but the indictment suggests that they were largely for his own
    Konopka is believed to be the leader of a band of vandalsknown as "The
    Realm of Chaos," some of whom have been convicted in state courts and
    have helped investigators build a case against Konopka. Officials
    believe that he used an online chat room called "Teens for Satan" to
    contact potential recruits.
    Recruiting efforts
    The indictment alleges that Konopka encouraged teenage boys and young
    men "to join him in ventures designed to entertain themselves by
    engaging in property damage and then observing the consequences."
    That seemed to be the case in the November occurrence, which took
    place as Konopka and his friends were driving home from a rock concert
    in La Crosse, according to Dufour.
    "As his name implies, their goal was to create chaos and create
    anarchy," Dufour said in a telephone interview.
    Lisa Moller, east region supervisor of corporate security for Alliant
    Energy, said "these acts of terrorism and anarchy have affected
    Alliant Energy in an adverse way," resulting in "constant paranoia."
    Thomas Eells, manager of corporate security for WE Energies, called
    the group's actions "significant acts of domestic terrorism" that
    placed people who depend on electrical medical equipment at
    significant risk.
    An attack on a WE Energies plant in Shiocton also placed firefighters
    at risk, said Michael Jenks of the Outagamie County Sheriff's
    Department. The October 2000 fire spread to an equipment storage
    facility owned by Bush Brothers and Co., destroying the building
    during a blaze that lasted several hours. That incident alone resulted
    in nearly $55,000 in damage.
    Other actions alleged in the indictment - the result of a joint
    investigation involving more than a dozen federal and local agencies
    in two states - include:
    * Starting a fire in a trash bin at the Heavenly Ham company in
      Ashwaubenon that spread to a food processing and distribution
      facility, causing $264,708 in damage.
    * Turning off the power supply to the equipment at the Wisconsin Air
      National Guard base at Camp Douglas, interrupting air traffic
      control communication.
    * Breaking into the Ledgeview studio of Wisconsin Public Radio and
      replacing the intended programming with music. As a result, the
      system switched to emergency broadcast mode.
    According to the indictment, the incidents began on Valentine's Day in
    1998 and continued through January 2001 in Adams, Brown, Calumet,
    Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Lincoln, Marquette, Oconto,
    Outagamie, Shawano and Winnebago counties.
    Biskupic said he expects Konopka to make his initial Wisconsin federal
    court appearance within 30 days.
    Meanwhile, some of Konopka's cohorts already have been convicted in
    state court in Door, Kewanee, Marquette and Shawano counties. Benjamin
    E. Nell, 18, of Green Bay and Joseph Lemieux, 19, were convicted of
    property-related misdemeanors in Door and Kewanee counties and have
    cooperated with his office, said Kewanee County District Attorney Troy
    C. Dalebroux.
    In Marquette County, Shawn P. Sullivan, 20, of Green Bay was convicted
    of a misdemeanor during a jury trial and sentenced to three years of
    probation and nine months in jail, Dufour said.
    Twenty-year-old Chad Reimer of Green Bay, who watched the blinding
    electrical flash, has cooperated with law enforcement agents, Dufour
    said. Reimer has not been charged.
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