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Shooting Threat Against Los Angeles Mall Leads to Australian Arrest December 11, 2007

Posted by cyberpatrol in 4chan.org, Anonymous, cybercrime.
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Associated Content, 10 Dec 2007

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the LAPD received a tip regarding a threat against The Grove, a shopping center located in West Los Angeles.

The threat was in fact posted on the Internet. It stated that a shooting would happen at the popular West L.A. shopping center on December 6th sometime during the day. The LAPD received this tip just a day before on the 5th.

In the midst of the recent mall shooting that occurred in Omaha, Nebraska, the LAPD took the threat extremely seriously and put several detectives from their Major Crimes Division and Computer Crimes Unit on the case. The detectives teamed up with the security personnel at the shopping center to make sure that people were safe.

Within a few hours, the detectives from both LAPD units had traced the threat back to an IP address located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The case did not end here. In fact, the LAPD detectives contacted police in Melbourne who were convinced that the LAPD had recovered enough evidence about the location of the IP address to make an official arrest. They successfully tracked down Jarrad Willis, a 20-year-old Melbourne resident. He reportedly posted a threat against the shopping center on an Internet Blog (4chan.org, see screenshot below).
Australian police authorities charged Willis with “Creating a False Belief,” a strict violation of law. It is possible that more charges will be brought up against the young man.

What may be Willis’ worst punishment is repaying $100,000 in investigation and legal fees to both the LAPD and Victorian Police. The Australian police authorities have stated that restitution will be part of Willis’ prosecution. His trial will take place in Australia, but repayment will be paid to the LAPD.

“In short order, it became very apparent that this suspect did not have any operational capability to carry out his threat. There was never any real threat to The Grove and there is no ongoing threat,” said Michael Downing, Deputy Chief of the LAPD’s Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau.

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Frankston blog hoax scrambles LA cops December 9, 2007

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The Age, December 9, 2007

IN THE internet age, the threats of a man sitting at his computer can spread strife across the globe in moments.

That’s what happened when Frankston man Jarrad Willis, 20, allegedly posted a hoax blog on the internet warning of a shooting rampage at the Grove shopping centre in Beverly Hills. He claimed the shooting would happen on December 6 and for good measure posted a photograph of a man holding a shotgun.

Los Angeles police, fearing a copycat massacre just two days after a shopping centre shooting in Omaha, Nebraska, killed eight people, alerted the Grove centre and started a global manhunt. The police operation cost about $100,000.

But shoppers were never in danger.

Los Angeles police deputy chief of counter-terrorism and criminal intelligence Michael Downing said it was “a sick joke for sure that is criminal in intent and we hope that he gets punished for his actions”.

Victoria Police arrested Mr Willis and seized his computer. He was released without charge after being questioned for two hours. His blog was posted on 4chan.org, a discussion board based in Virginia for people with an interest in Japanese manga comics.

The Grove centre management became aware of the blog and notified Los Angeles police. Police tracked down Mr Willis through an Australian web server.

Officer Downing said the police would seek compensation for the cost of the investigation.

Law Institute of Victoria chief executive Michael Brett Young said such restitution could be possible if the accused were convicted of a crime under Australian law.

“Should the person be charged and convicted, then they may be able to make their claim for restitution within the Australian court system,” he said.

In May, a Jarrad Willis of Melbourne posted a comment on a news website following a story about a man arrested for carrying a Star Wars replica gun at Southbank.

“We know that the gun is supposed to be a replica of a stormtrooper’s blaster but that is too well made to go carrying around the streets in front of people that don’t know much about Star Wars. Too easily mistaken for a real gun … that was a silly thing to do,” he wrote.