Seattle Police have arrested a Seattle Fire Department employee for cyberstalking, computer trespass, and identity theft in an ongoing investigation into threats made to a city councilmember. Seattle Police believe a 42-year-old man, who works for the Seattle Fire Department, sent a series of threatening emails earlier this year to a Seattle City Councilmember. Police initially investigated one SFD employee, which led them to a second employee.
UPDATE 2/15/2021 10:00 AM: A King County judge found probable cause over the weekend to keep Seattle firefighter Andrew Finseth in custody for investigation of felony harassment, second-degree identity theft, and first-degree computer trespass after police say he used another firefighter’s email account to threaten Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant:
According to police, after his arrest, Finseth said the emails were intended to get the other firefighter in trouble and he did not “have any intentions of harming Sawant.” Police say Finseth admitted he had called the city’s IT department pretending to be the other firefighter to have his password changed. Police say Finseth also sent emails posing as the other firefighter requesting a transfer to another fire station. Police say Finseth chose Sawant because the other firefighter lives in her district.
Original report: SPD public information said they could not confirm which councilmember the employee was arrested for threatening.
CHS reported on threats made against Councilmember Kshama Sawant beginning in December and the District 3 representative’s concern that SPD and the city were not taking the situation seriously even as the messages sent from a Seattle Fire city email account became more threatening.
SPD says the employee arrested Friday was identified during their investigation of another employee. In the Sawant investigation, a Seattle Fire employee denied having sent the messages that came from their account.
“SPD detectives have investigated several other unrelated threats against elected officials,” the SPD brief on Friday’s arrest reads. “In December, investigators forwarded another case, involving threats against a different city councilmember, to the City Attorney’s office.”
The Seattle Fire employee busted Friday was booked into King County Jail for investigation of harassment, identity theft, and computer trespass.
We’ll know more about the situation as the legal process continues and any charges are filed.
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