2 accused sought to use phone lines, official says

August 15, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

Two Anne Arundel County teen-agers charged with tapping into Annapolis city government and police computers probably didn't compromise sensitive data, a city spokesman said yesterday.

Tom Roskelly, Annapolis public information officer and director of tourism, said it appears the youths may have been trying to gain access to city phone lines to make free long-distance calls.

"It's highly unlikely that anything other than telephone numbers was compromised," Mr. Roskelly said.

On Friday night, county police and FBI agents raided the homes of two youths and seized two computer systems that will be examined by experts to determine what the teens were doing.

A 15-year-old was arrested in the first block of Clara Circle in Glen Burnie, and was charged with five counts of illegal computer access. A 17-year-old was arrested in the 2700 block of Ogleton Road in Annapolis, and was charged with three counts of illegal computer access.

The youths' names were withheld because of their ages. Both were released into the custody of their parents.

Lt. Gary Simpson, an Annapolis police spokesman, declined to comment yesterday, saying no more information would be available until today.

Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins said yesterday he had no further information. However, he said he would have been notified if the matter had been of major concern to the police, and he had not heard from them.

"I'm taking that as a very good sign," Mr. Hopkins said.

A county police spokesman, Officer Maxwell Frye, said yesterday there was no indication that the teens had gotten into county police computers, or that they had attempted to do so.

Officer Frye said the investigation began early last week, when a county detective received a tip about misuse of computers.

However, Alderman Dean Johnson, a Ward 2 Independent, said city officials had become aware in the spring that someone was trying to get into the computers and had notified the state police then.

Mr. Roskelly said city officials will know more about the teens' activities today, after they examine the city computer database to see what files were entered.

Higher-security files, such as those containing police, personnel and financial records, have several levels of security features, he said. When anyone tries to get into these records, the computer records it.

"I don't think it's something to take lightly, at all," Annapolis Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, said yesterday.

"While this incident may not have been serious, it should serve as a wake-up call" because if teen-agers can break into the computer system, others might be able to do so, he said.

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