True Crime Online Newsletter - February 13, 2013

I couldn't make this up if I tried. . .Lock picking horse a hit online

The Michigan owners of an escape artist horse said a video of the animal's feats has been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube.

Sandy and Don Bonem, owners of Misty Meadow Farms in Midland, said 9-year-old Friesian horse Mariska has been nicknamed "Houdini Horse" for her ability to pick any lock they put on the door to her stall, the Saginaw News reported Friday.

"She would always play with things with her mouth as a baby, and she just kind of progressed from that," Sandy Bonem said. "She doesn't like to be locked in, so she would play with each new lock until she figured it out."

The couple said they made a video compilation of Mariska's lock picking and posted it to YouTube, where it has been viewed more than 700,000 times.

The couple said Mariska will escape her stall to go looking for grain, leading them to keep it chained up where she can't reach it. They said they have to take extra precautions to keep the horse safe.

"When we leave the barn, she will go around and check to see if any of our safeguards are missing, and if she finds one, she gets out," she said.

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(DISCLAIMER: The following news items were found on the web and were not written or endorsed by WHO@; they are for informational purposes only)

AU girl student receives e-mail threat - 02/19/13
A student of the Allahabad University allegedly sent an e-mail to a classmate he was infatuated with, threatening her that she will meet “the same fate as the victim of the Delhi gangrape” if she spurned his advances, a varsity official today said.

Computer scam threatens prosecution for child porn, demands payment - 02/17/13
A Pike County family received an alarming message while browsing the Internet, accusing them of accessing child pornography and demanding they pay a fine to avoid prosecution. News 4's Mike Colombo traced the pop-up message back to online scam artists.

Secret shopper scam costs Abbeville grocery store $8,700 - 02/17/13
There is one Abbeville grocery store that is out $8,700 thanks to a secret shopper ad an Abbeville resident found on the Internet. An Abbeville lady answered the Internet ad about trying to find a secret shopper. The secret shopper, after being approved, was sent 10 United States Postal Service Money Orders for $870 each. Once she got the package with what looked like real money orders, she called a phone number in the Philippines with more instructions.

Saudi princess 'blackmailed by fake sheikh who wants £320,000 for video which shows her smoking and blowing a kiss with head uncovered' - 02/17/13
A Saudi Arabian princess is the victim of a blackmail attempt involving a video of her that could anger and shock the establishment in the hardline Islamic state. Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz al Saud - more commonly known as Princess Basmah - is being held to ransom by a man who plans to embarrass her with a video - if she does not pay him £320,000.

Miranda Kerr: Back in L.A. After E-Mail Threats - 02/16/13
After a long flight from her home country of Australia, Miranda Kerr arrived at LAX Airport in Los Angeles on Friday (February 15). The Victoria's Secret Angel smiled in a short-sleeved gray patterned top, blue jeans, and black high-tops as she made her way through the crowds.

Academic Study Examines The Link Between Gender Cues and In-Game Harassment - 02/15/13
Verbal abuse is a pandemic in the online gaming community. And while it affects all sorts of gamers, there’s a select brand of vitriol reserved for women who venture into voice chat. This is an oft-discussed issue, and we still don’t have a good understanding of the root causes, or of what we can do to alleviate it. But some recent academic research provides a interesting (and sobering) look at how persistent the problem is.

Portland Police officer sentenced in harassment case - 02/15/13
A Portland Police officer pleaded guilty in Clark County court to reduced charges and has been sentenced in a harassment case that resulted from an incident more than one year ago. Officer James Botaitis was accused of breaking into his estranged wife's apartment in October 2011 and threatening to kill her boyfriend, David Bacus. Botaitis and his wife were in the process of divorcing at the time. They have a son together who was seven when the incident occurred.

Who’s Sending Out Fake Lesbian Wedding Announcements to Small Papers? - 02/15/13
The only unusual aspect of the Collins-Johns engagement announcement that ran in yesterday's Le Mars Daily Sentinel was that the Iowan news concerned a same-sex marriage: Le Mars' own Candace Leigh Collins was set to marry Maria Ava Johns, a young woman she'd met as an undergraduate of Texas State University, this coming May in the progressive state of Massachusetts.

Women Are Targeted For Harassment In Online Gaming 'Roughly Three Times As Much', Says New Study - 02/14/13
With the efforts of sites like Fat, Ugly, or Slutty that exist to illustrate the atmosphere of hostility that often surrounds in-game gender dynamics, it's becoming something of a given that women generally are subjected to more harassment and negativity than their male counterparts when participating online. However, even with the abundance of blog posts, screen shots, and audio backing up the assertions of the female gaming community, they are still seen by some as merely anecdotal anomalies rather than a social norm.

Facebook sued over 'Like' button by Dutch firm that claims it patented by programmer in the 1990s - 02/14/13
The widow of a Dutch computer programmer is suing Facebook over its trademarked ‘like’ button, claiming her husband invented the technology back in the 1990s. The unnamed widow of Joannes Jozef Everadus van Der Meer claims that the social media giant used two of Mr van Der Meer’s patents without first obtaining her permission. She claims that her husband held the patents as early as 1998.

Will Google be forced to police online comments? Judge in libel case 'opens door' for internet giant being required to monitor users' posts - 02/14/13
Google was today facing the prospect of being forced to remove offending posts on the Blogger website after a judge ‘opened the door’ for the firm being required to monitor what users write. The California-based internet giant convinced London’s Court of Appeal in a libel case that Blogger is the equivalent of a blank wall and it cannot be held responsible for what is written there by people.

5 reasons you're stalking your ex online today - 02/13/13
Valentine's has arrived and while love may be in the air, it's much more interesting to follow its trail online. A day dedicated to romance usually sets a few hearts racing, but sends a lot more hearts toward Facebook and Google to find out what happened to their ex-girlfriends, boyfriends, wives or husbands. This, it turns out -- the day before Valentine's day -- is a prime day for using the Internet to learn a little more* about your old flames.

Playboy conman's 'victim' facing jail after revealing she was actually his lover - and helped him steal thousands from another woman - 02/13/13
The lover of a serial con artist who posed as a playboy Italian aristocrat has admitted how she helped him by collecting cash from one of his victims. Gail Heyworth, 51, lived a life of luxury thanks to the lies of Scott Travis despite claiming she was also one of his victims.

Cyberstalking with LinkedIn - 02/12/13
You just left cocktail hour or a networking event and forgot to grab a business card from the person you'd been chatting with. Don't kick yourself. Instead, log on to LinkedIn to do some cyberstalking. It's a much better resource than Facebook, because with just bits and pieces of information, you're still likely to be able to find your target. The big benefit of using LinkedIn to search for someone is that users generally want to be found, unlike some users on Facebook who exclude themselves from search or messaging. Many LinkedIn members also display a picture of themselves. With more than 200 million members, there's a good chance you will find the person you're seeking.

Dating scam results in ‘six figure’ loss for Orangville victim - 02/12/13
A relationship which blossomed on a popular online dating site has turned into a significant financial loss for an Orangeville resident. According to police, the victim was befriended and scammed of a large sum of money after being duped by the culprit’s fake story and promises of financial gain. “I’ll tell you it’s six figures,” Staff Sgt. Lindsay White said when asked how much money was wired to the fraudster. “The victim in all this is embarrassed enough.”

Bitter Barista loses job over snarky blog about customers, boss - 02/11/13
Meet Matt Watson, 30, who just lost his job at All City Coffee in Georgetown that he had for 2½ years. That’s what happens when you’ve become the Bitter Barista, start blogging snarky stuff about your customers, and it goes viral. For example: “If you remind me four times that you’ve ordered decaf, guess what you won’t be getting ... ” “I would remember your usual drink if you were a more memorable person.”

Online game leads to harassment, extortion for local teen - 02/11/13
Online bullying and Xbox extortion are new terms to dad Joe Ferreri. But allegations made to Federal Way police are no child's play. He wishes it was that way for his 13-year-old son Nicholas. "So he wanted the Xbox," Joe said of his son. "So now he's in the big league and he's got a lot of weirdoes out there in the big league with him."


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