Lady arrested for allegedly holding ISP tech hostage


Look. If I was an old Canadian playwright who couldn’t get on the Internet, I’d be mad too. People over 50 generally don’t understand the relationship between an Internet connection, a router, and an Ethernet port (or wireless connection). That is to say, when an old person’s connection goes down, they automatically just assume that it’s the ISP’s fault without realizing that it could be the router or the computer instead.

So Carol Sinclair, a 53-year-old playwright from Canada, couldn’t get on the Internet (see the full story here). She called her ISP (Aliant) a number of times and each time they diagnosed that the connection to her house was working just fine and that her computer must have been the problem. Says Sinclair:

"I was polite the first 20 times I talked to them, but each one gave me the same routine: ‘Is the modem connected. Are the lights blipping?’ And then each one would say, ‘It should be working, it should be working. The problem must be with your computer.’ "

I can understand calling back a few times, but if after 20 calls, each rep says that it’s a problem with your computer, maybe you ought to get your computer checked out. Instead, Sinclair called back and disguised her voice like a man’s and said that her connection was down and she needed to use her computer for work. Aliant sent someone out the next day. Well played, Carol. Well played indeed.

The problem, though, is that the tech that came out to the house found that the connection was, indeed, just fine and that Sinclair actually did have a problem with her computer. When the technician broke her the news, one of two things happened.

According to the technician, Ms. Sinclair went into a tirade and told him that she was holding him hostage until he got her Internet connection working, implying that she had a gun. The tech told Sinclair that he needed a disc from his van in order to fix the connection, at which point he ran from the house, jumped into his van, and sped off.

Sinclair’s version is that she asked the tech to call another tech and then said, "I don’t want to hold you hostage, but would you mind hanging around until the other technician arrives so that the two of you can sort it out." She then held the front door open while the tech went to get a disc out of his van, at which point he sped off.

Then, according to Sinclair, she went back inside and started drinking a vodka cooler, saying, "It was five hours earlier than I usually drink, but I was frankly a little frustrated." Shortly thereafter, five police officers showed up at her condo and arrested her. They didn’t find any guns in the house, although Sinclair had apparently implied to the technician that she did have a gun.

Sinclair was arraigned and is free on the condition that she not have any contact with the technician that came to her house or any other Aliant employees.

[Globe and Mail via Slashdot]