Police: City Councilman’s Email Identity Stolen
Turns out that the email sent to a Lakewood Observer board member threatening the newspaper’s publisher was traced to a “spoof” website in Czech Republic.
Last month, Ward 3 councilman Shawn Juris filed a police report noting that his business email account had been somehow compromised after an email was sent to Stephen Davis, a board member of the Lakewood Observer.
The email called for Jim O’Bryan, the newspaper’s publisher, to be removed from his position, with the sender threatening to use the “full force and power of my position to make this clear.”
According to the police report, obtained through a public records request, the email was sent from a server in Czech Republic known as a “spoofing” site.
The website allows people to send emails to others while posing as someone else.
A subpoena of AT&T records indicated that the email in question did not come from the councilman’s server, according to the police report.
Records also show that the councilman’s email account was not compromised.
On June 25, Davis posted the email on the Observation Deck — the Observer’s online forum — and a flurry of comments followed.
Juris has maintained that he didn’t send the email, noting that his account had been “manipulated.” He filed a police report later in the day.
Juris said that he was disappointed that the board member was “so easily fooled by this hoax,” which sparked a “lynch mob mentality.”
“Overall, it seemed like a plotline from ‘Mean Girls,’ not behavior of adults who are supposed to be credible members of our community,” he said.
Juris said he will be “waiting patiently” for an apology from those involved.
“Hopefully, others can use this as a learning experience as to how important it is to question strange emails and not to rush to judgment,” he said. “Seems that this could have been avoided with a phone call, but instead a group of individuals with ties to the Observer lined up to all reply within the first hour of the post then lost further credibility by questioning if the police report was filed.”
Davis said he wanted to look at the police report before commenting on the story.
“I’ve invested thousands of hours in this town, with the charter review and in the library and the schools — for the interest of good government,” he said. “Someone chooses language and context that hit my biggest, barest wires? I don’t get it."
O'Bryan declined to comment.
Police Chief Timothy Malley said the investigation is closed, “pending further leads or developments,” however, it’s not known who sent the email. And since it was traced to the Czech Republic, finding out is nearly impossible.
“There are sites that allow someone to send a fake email,” Malley said. “I don’t know how this is prevented from happening, short of outlawing those sites.”
Juris said he doesn’t know who sent the email, but added that he’ll “leave the speculation and conjecture to the bloggers.”