Game over for Cary man who police say hacked computer

Richard F. Day broke into the Cary Public Library's computer system last month, village police said Tuesday.

Then police say he did something really stupid: he bragged about it.

Police arrested the 32-year-old Cary man over the weekend on two charges of computer tampering, one of them a felony, alleging he hacked into the library's computers so he could download from the Internet information to enhance his computer gaming.

"It started off innocent enough," Detective Carlos Sirtori said. "He wasn't going on there to do anything bad. But he wasn't supposed to do it, and he decided to go down that path."

That path, police say, involved hacking into the computer system and altering its security settings so that he could download information the library barred him and other patrons from accessing.

But his real mistake came later, Sirtori said, when Day sent the system's administrator an e-mail bragging how he broke into their operation.

"Had he done it and just walked away, probably no one would have known about it," the detective said. "But he had to send a 'ha-ha' message and let them know about it.

"That's usually the hacker mentality," Sirtori said. "They need you to know, otherwise they get no pleasure out of it."

The incident, police said, forced library employees to spend significant time reviewing their computer security settings and reformatting the system.

Investigators tracked the e-mail to Day and arrested him without incident Saturday. Sirtori said Day was cooperative and admitted what he did.

"He's not a bad guy, but this is not something he should have done," Sirtori said. "We want to make sure this never happens again."

Day is free on $7,500 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday before Judge Ward S. Arnold. If convicted of the felony charges, he could face 1 to 3 years in prison, though probation also is a sentencing option.

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