John Griffin was indicted in the wardriving hacking and fraud case last September and pleaded guilty in November. The legal process for the other men in the case, Josh Witt and Brad Lowe, played out over recent months with Witt finally pleading guilty earlier this week. The Seattle PI has an extensive report on the case against the three men and pictures of one of the vehicles seized by federal investigators. All three are yet to be sentenced. The PI reports the men face between six and eight years in prison.
Authorities first came into possession of Griffin’s wardriving-mobile in October 2010 after the 8th Ave resident was arrested for using stolen gift cards at 12th Ave’s The Local Vine.
According to the police report on the incident, police discovered that gift cards stolen in a Bellevue burglary had been used at the Capitol Hill wine bar. An investigator following the wardriving and burglary ring arranged to be contacted by East Precinct if stolen cards were used again. Just two weeks later on a Thursday night, the flag went off. Griffin had returned to The Local Vine with stolen cards in tow. Parked nearby, the investigator found the black 1988 Mercedes Benz and had it impounded. Visible inside the car: a laptop, an antenna, binoculars, a box of memory cards, and a copy of “Real Time Pricing” software. Here is the report’s description of wardriving:
Federal investigators say the trio stole personal information an infiltrated networks at businesses around Seattle and the Eastside eventually turning to more straightforward burglary and break-ins to acquire computer hardware from which network or personal information could be extracted. The stolen information could then be sold to identity thieves who open credit card accounts and cash in on the crime.
For his part in the scheme, the 36-year-old Griffin pleaded guilty to a list of hacking charges and aggravated identity theft.