Hacker now charged with harassment - Quad-Cities Online: Iowa

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Hacker now charged with harassment

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Posted: Wednesday, September 2, 1998 1:00 am

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Convicted computer hacker Joseph Patrick Hentzel, the former University of Iowa student who broke into thousands of e-mail accounts including Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman's, is in trouble again.

Iowa City Police said Hentzel, 19, of Iowa City has been charged with harassment after allegedly telephoning an elderly woman at 6:15 a.m. on July 15 and telling her he was going to kill her.

Police said their investigation revealed that the call was made from Hentzel's apartment and he is the only person on the lease.

Hentzel, originally from Ames, pleaded guilty and was convicted in March 1997 to charges of second-degree theft, electronic eavesdropping, fourth-degree criminal mischief and possession of marijuana.

The electronic eavesdropping charge was based on an allegation that Hentzel broke into and copied almost 2,400 university e-mail files, including some belonging to Coleman, while he was employed at the university's Information Technology Services between Sept. 1, 1995, and March 31, 1996.

Information Technology Services oversees the university's computer system.

Hentzel was sentenced to a 60-day jail term on the electronic eavesdropping charge and a 30-day term on the criminal mischief charge, both suspended. He also was fined $250 on each of those charges and the marijuana possession charge.

District Judge Patrick Grady senteced Hentzel to two years probation and 40 hours of community service on the felony theft conviction.

Judgment was deferred for two years, meaning that the charge would be expunged from Hentzel's record if he met all probation requirements.

Hentzel was charged with second-degree theft because an April 1996 search of his former apartment turned up property belonging to US West Communications and the university. Marijuana also was discovered during that search.

The criminal mischief charge stemmed from a February 1996 break-in at MacLean Hall where Hentzel tampered with the wiring in an elevator.

Hentzel landed a job at the university, working part-time as a data entry specialist and research assistant in the College of Nursing.

However, court documents said Hentzel's probation officer has not been able to locate him for a month.

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