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Boing Boing: Use free wireless in Alaska, lose your laptop:

Police in Alaska confiscated the laptop belonging to a 21-year-old man who was sitting in his car outside a public library that has free WiFi. They said his “activity constituted theft of services.”

Hey! This happened in Palmer! Palmer is a weird place. Don’t go judging the whole state by what happens in Palmer and Wasilla. Plus, ummm the dude was sitting outside the Library in his car in the middle of the night. It’s been fucking cold lately. Slightly suspicious.

The guy was also told to leave the day before he was arrested and that the police considered what he was doing constituted stealing. So, him going back the next day wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

Is the police response ridiculous? Yup.

Is this guy someone who we should feel a whole lot of sympathy for? I don’t think so.



  1. I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska (which happens to be about 20 min away from Palmer) currently going to school in Portland, OR. I write only to say that I have had quite a bit of experience with Mr. Tanner.

    While living in Wasilla, I worked a local coffee shop (Kaladi Bros.) which offered free wi-fi service to our customers. While it was never a heavily used service, we had a few dedicated businessmen and women who would use it daily before driving to work.

    One night, while the store was closed, Mr. Tanner parked his vehicle in front of the store and proceeded to use the internet. The next morning when I show up at 5:30 to get the shop open for the day, there he still sits. Asleep.
    I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but this activity continued for about 3 months. He rarely would leave the property and always returned with more snacks and more computer stuff in the back of his car. On one occasion, he actually came in with a buddy and they set up their x-box and television in the corner and proceeded to play games.

    Shortly after this we speak with the police and the owners of the parking lot the vehicle was parked in to have it removed. After talking to the police we learn that Mr. Tanner had done the some thing all across town, anywhere that he could get free wi-fi. And everywhere else that he tried this at, he would stay for a few weeks to a few months and then the police would be called in to remove him (he did not respond well to reasoning and more than once stormed out of the shop yelling at customers and staff).

    Anyway, while I don’t endorse what the Palmer cops did, what is not mentioned in any article I read was the laundry list of complaints against him and the number of times this has happened in the past.

  2. Wow!! How funny! Y’know, I was about to give you smack for dissin’ the Valley (as a cabbage-fed Palmer High Alum I cannot let my meth-lovin’ ex-neighbors take TOO much smack without rising to its defense)

    However … reading what Alex had to say: yeah … I can see why the cops might have been inclined to pick this guy up. Not exactly a danger or a menace to society … but a nuisance. Knowing more about the situation definitely gives it some perspective. And hey: give the Palmer cops a break – usually all they have to do is answer domestic violence calls and pull over teens for drunk driving … I’m sure they found this kinda amusing in an “isn’t the world a fucked-up place” kind of way.

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  1. […] Permanent Link to AK getting a bad rep on Boing Boing But, “in this particular case you know he’s feeding off something that we know the city of Palmer pays for and there are requirements to use it,” […]

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