ESSEX — The Essex town clerk-elect was charged Thursday with three misdemeanors after he allegedly unlawfully used a family’s Internet service while parked in his car near their home.
William J. Morgan, 34, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, theft of computer services and petit larceny, according to New York State Police Troop B Zone Sgt. Charles Dutko.
Morgan was also ticketed for trespassing, a violation.
He was elected Nov. 5 as the town clerk/tax collector for Essex; he ran for the position unopposed.
At about 8:25 p.m. Nov. 17, the owner of a home in the Town of Essex called to report a suspicious vehicle parked alongside his seasonal residence in a place where it was hidden from the roadway, according to Dutko and a State Police blotter entry.
The residence is located near Lake Champlain between Station Street (Route 22) and Blockhouse Road.
The homeowner and his wife told the trooper they had just returned home to find a vehicle unknown to them parked near their house, Dutko said.
When the homeowner approached the vehicle and knocked on the window, he recognized the occupant as Morgan, who cares for his lawn in the summer, the sergeant said.
Their lawn had been damaged in several places from Morgan driving on it, Dutko said.
‘STOLE INTERNET SERVICE’
Police found an extension cord running from the outside of the residence to Morgan’s car, Dutko said.
When the trooper questioned Morgan, he said he had come to the home around 4 p.m. to charge his cellphone and use the wireless Internet available at the residence.
It was unknown Saturday what kind of electronic device Morgan allegedly used to access the Internet.
‘ALTERED NETWORK CONNECTION’
The homeowner initially declined to have Morgan arrested, Dutko said, but decided to press charges four days later.
Dutko said they opted to charge Morgan after they spoke with a computer technician and learned that their Internet connection had been switched from a secure to an insecure network.
They believe Morgan was the person who altered their Internet connection, Dutko said.
After his arrest at 2:40 p.m. at his home on Route 22 in Essex, Morgan was released on appearance tickets. He is due back in Essex Town Court on Dec. 2.
Morgan could not be reached by the Press-Republican Saturday for comment.
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