Empress of the Universe

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Own Little Darwin Award Nominee

Yesterday morning when we awoke, the light on our phone was flashing, indicating that there was a message waiting on our answering service. It is our custom to look at the call display before checking the messages; it's like a sneak peek to see who may be thinking about us. More often than not, call display shows Unknown Name Unknown Number, in which case we may not check the message for a few hours. After all, everyone we know has a name.

Yesterday's call display showed the caller's very Distinctive First and Last Names and telephone number. Funny thing, the caller left a message around 2:30 in the morning, yet none of us had heard the phone ring.

Finally, just before 4 p.m., we checked the messages. We were all a little shocked to hear a threatening voice warning us: "Your time has come to an end. I will be taking your life tomorrow at 6 p.m. (Evil laugh.) Goodbye."

Usually, you'd feel threatened hearing a message like that, but one could just make out the sounds of a young teen laughing in the background. It sounded like a prank call. I mean, who says "You'll by dead by 6 PEE-EM tomorrow." If I call you about a date, I may say something like "I'll see you at 2 o'clock tomorrow." I frequently use "p.m." when writing, but I can't even imagine using it in conversation. I thought it was polite of him to say the formal "Goodbye" instead of just hanging up, like I guess I'd expect serial killers would.

We didn't take it too seriously as an actual threat to our safety, but we did want to report it to the police. While waiting for the police to come, I thought I'd do a reverse look-up on the number. It turns out the number is a local cell phone.

I then used Canada411 and found four local families with the same Distinctive Surname. I used Mapquest to identify one of the streets as being in our neighbourhood.

In a moment of inspiration, I decided to look up the name on Facebook. Bingo! There he was. Mr. Distinctive First Name and Last Name, a student at a local high school.

Busted!

The police officer was incredibly impressed with what he called "my investigation." I told him that I am the Empress of all Google searches. He complained that the police don't have access to Facebook as part of their investigative resources. Facebook is blocked on police computers.

Now you could hardly call this an "investigation." In total, the entire process took less than ten minutes.

The police will be making a visit to the young man's school and then speaking with his parents. Kids need to know that there are consequences to their seemingly 'fun' and 'innocent' pranks.

We're all safe, we think. As for me, I've offered to do online research for the regional police on a pay-per-search basis. After all, my first "investigation" appears to be successful.


Twenty minutes after writing this, we heard back from the police officer. It seems Mr. Distinctive First and Last Name was known to police. The officer had already been to his home and spoken to the kid and his parents. The cop seems to have warned him that he's lucky we're such good people and don't want to press charges, otherwise, he'd be spending the night in jail waiting to see a justice of the peace tomorrow morning. From what the officer told me, I'm pretty sure we won't be hearing from the kid again.

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