Sandia Worker Cracked Yahoo To Stalk Singer
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington had accounts on Yahoo, Verizon Wireless, and PayPal compromised by an audacious fan who now faces federal sentencing on multiple counts.
Devon Lynn Townsend managed to get access to Bennington’s Yahoo email account from her work computer. It was the start of extensive stalking of the star, and ended with Townsend fired and possibly going to jail.
The information filing (PDF) submitted to the US District Court for New Mexico showed Townsend faced charges of stalking, unlawful access to stored communications, and unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings.
Following the path of theft reveals just how a determined and skilled individual can make life a nightmare for another person. It started with Townsend somehow getting Bennington’s email address, and accessing a Yahoo server to change the email account’s password.
She tracked emails that included pictures of Bennington’s children, a copy of Linkin Park’s contract with Warner Brothers Records, and details of the family’s travel plans. Federal authorities said she also gained access to Bennington’s Verizon Wireless account, including detailed bills with phone numbers, and to his PayPal account.
Townsend also created two other email accounts with Yahoo, and used them to taunt Bennington’s wife, Talinda, and friends of the family. One email Townsend sent included a link to an article about cyberstalking.
The stalking took place between January and November 2006. Townsend faces fines of $250,000 and a jail term of five years for each of the three counts against her.