In techy Palo Alto, California, a teen is facing felony charges after he went to neighbors to demand their WiFi passwords. The desperate 17-year-old, who authorities have not identified because of his age, apparently had run out of data on his phone and thus needed a boost.

In one case, he broke into a residence and woke up a sleeping couple to demand their WiFi password. “The male victim got out of bed, confronted the suspect, and pushed him down the hallway and out the front door of the house before calling police. No one was injured,” said a release from the Palo Alto police department. The startled couple told police that two kitchen knives were missing from their home during the break-in. Police did not, however, find any weapons on the teen when he was caught. The couple are reportedly in their 60s.

The spree started on July 21. The teen Internet junkie is believed to be the very same person who appeared at the window of another residence where he asked a woman there for her Wifi password, claiming that his phone no longer had data. When the woman and a teen resident of the home ordered the suspect to leave, he fled on a bicycle that he stole from them.

Later, police found the bike near the same location where the suspect was detained by officers on July 22. The “officers returned the bicycle to the victim,” said the police press release, “and are recommending that the District Attorney’s Office add a charge of misdemeanor petty theft against the suspect.”

The suspect was taken into custody and lodged at the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. He is now facing not only a felony charge of burglary, charges of prowling and providing false information to an officer, both misdemeanors, have been added. 



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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