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Posted: 12/15/2003 8:34:13 AM EDT
home.abelgratis.co.uk/cgi-bin/frame.py?title=Abel+Gratis+-+HOME&url=http%3a//www.thescotsman.co.uk/international.cfm%3fid%3d1367022003

Three German teens spent $85,000,000.00 (euro?) in 2 hours online.



£85m net loss

ALLAN HALL IN BERLIN


THREE bored teenagers went on one of the biggest shopping sprees the world has seen, buying aeroplanes, cars and restaurants worth £85 million in just two hours.

Armed with nothing more than a stolen password and their school computer, the three 19-year-olds from Germany also bought patents and precious artworks from online art-houses only too eager to hawk their wares to the seemingly wealthy clients.

The students from the small town of Weilburg went on the internet binge in October but were only arrested at their school desks yesterday.

"They said they were bored," said a police spokesman.

Some of the items the three online shoppers ordered were sent out in good faith. Others were still awaiting collection, including three Piper Cherokee aircraft which have been sitting in a hangar near Düsseldorf for the past several weeks awaiting collection.

Police said the students used the password of an adult whose computer they hacked into. The hapless man was arrested in a dawn raid last week in Ludwigsburg but was released again after questioning when officers realised he had nothing to do with the crimes.

Among the items found at the teenagers’ homes were hi-fi equipment, rowing machines, Swedish desk furniture, valuable first edition books, pornographic films and Prada, Gucci and Chanel clothing.

The internet fraudsters even managed to buy industrial machinery, nine restaurants, several bars and two nightclubs without raising any suspicion they might not have the funds for such massive outlays.

A large part of the sum involves the payment of lawyers’ fees relating to the property sales. The three also "bought" the patents on several mechanical gadgets including a device for sealing envelopes.

"They were very enterprising but the success of the sting relied more on the foolishness of the people they contacted via the internet," the police spokesman said.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt said: "They said they were bored. It was a laugh. The internet is such an under-regulated highway. It was easy for them.

"A few passwords, a stolen credential - they were away."

According to police, the boys "made no attempt to disguise what fun they had buying only the most expensive things".



BanRequire the internet, it's for the children!
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