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It seems like thieves will try to steal anything, and thievery has been more commonplace in the digital age. A recent DOJ case has been making the rounds in terms of weirdness – the DOJ investigated and convicted a man of trying to steal a website domain name.
Rossi Lorathio Adams II, a former Iowa State University student who apparently dropped out to run their social media handle “State Snaps”, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for plotting to steal the internet domain name “doitforstate.com” at gunpoint.
Adams was in talks to legally purchase the domain name from the domain squatter (a person that buys up large numbers of website domain names), but the seller was asking for a whopping $20,000.
Refusing to pay that price, Adams then hired a cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr., to break into the domain owner’s home and force him at gunpoint to transfer the domain name over.
To be clear, Adams was the original owner of the “doitforstate.com” domain, but forgot to renew it through his registrar.
If you own a web domain and forget to renew it, you’re given a 40 day grace period to renew it even after expiration. Once that grace period was over, the domain squatter quickly purchased the domain and then offered to sell it back to Adams.
Adams and Hopkins drove to the domain owner’s home, made the demands at gunpoint, and then things fell apart. Both Hopkins and the domain thief suffered gunshot wounds, and ended up in custody after the police were called.
Here’s a rundown from the DOJ:
When Hopkins entered the victim’s home in Cedar Rapids, he was carrying a cellular telephone, a stolen gun, [and] a taser, and he was wearing a hat, pantyhose on his head, and dark sunglasses on his face.
The victim was upstairs and heard Hopkins enter the home. From the top of a staircase, the victim saw Hopkins with the gun on the first floor. Hopkins shouted at the victim, who then ran into an upstairs bedroom and shut the door, leaning up against the door to stop Hopkins from entering.
Hopkins went upstairs, kicked the door open, grabbed the victim by the arm and demanded to know where he kept his computer. When the victim told Hopkins that he kept his computer in his home office, Hopkins forcibly moved the victim to the office. Hopkins ordered the victim to turn on his computer and connect to the Internet. Hopkins pulled out Adams’ demand note, which contained a series of directions on how to change an Internet domain name from the domain owner’s GoDaddy account to one of Adams’ GoDaddy accounts.
Hopkins put the firearm against the victim’s head and ordered him to follow the directions on the demand note. Hopkins then pistol whipped the victim several times in the head. Fearing for his life, the victim quickly turned to move the gun away from his head. The victim then managed to gain control of the gun, but during the struggle, he was shot in the leg. The victim shot Hopkins multiple times in the chest. He then contacted law enforcement.