Verizon fell for fake “search warrant,” gave victim’s phone data to stalker

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Enlarge / A Verizon logo at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2019 on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
Getty Images | David Ramos

Verizon Wireless gave a female victim’s address and phone logs to an alleged stalker who pretended to be a police officer, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent. The man, Robert Michael Glauner, was later arrested near the victim’s home and found to be carrying a knife at the time, according to the affidavit submitted in court yesterday.

Glauner allegedly traveled from New Mexico to Raleigh, North Carolina, after finding out where she lived and, before arriving, sent a threatening message that said, “if I can’t have you no one can.” He also allegedly threatened to send nude photos of the victim to her family members.

Glauner was charged yesterday with stalking and fraud “in connection with obtaining confidential phone records” in US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. We aren’t posting or linking directly to the court record because it seems to contain the victim’s home address. The incident was previously reported by 404 Media.

Glauner and the victim met in August or September 2023 on xhamster.com, a porn website with dating features, and “had an online romantic relationship,” the affidavit said. The victim ended the relationship, but Glauner “continued to contact or try to contact” her, the document said.

Glauner tricked Verizon into providing sensitive information by sending an email and fake search warrant to vsat.cct@one.verizon.com, the email address for the Verizon Security Assistance Team (VSAT), which handles legal requests. Verizon didn’t realize the request was fraudulent even though it came from a Proton Mail address rather than from a police department or other governmental agency, according to the affidavit filed yesterday by FBI Special Agent Michael Neylon.

Fake cop, forged judge’s signature

An email to Verizon from “steven1966c@proton.me” on September 26, 2023, said, “Here is the pdf file for search warrant. We are in need if the [sic] this cell phone data as soon as possible to locate and apprehend this suspect. We also need the full name of this Verizon subscriber and the new phone number that has been assigned to her. Thank you.”

The email’s attached document contained a fake affidavit written by “Detective Steven Cooper” of the Cary, North Carolina Police Department. The Cary Police Department confirmed that no officer named Steven Cooper is employed by their agency, Neylon wrote.

VSAT received a phone call the same day from a man identifying himself as Cooper, who stated that he needed information on a suspect in a homicide case. “The caller stated that the person involved changed her phone number,” Neylon wrote.

The fake affidavit asked for the new phone number as well as “call records both outgoing and incoming” and “locations and text messages incoming and outgoing.” The affidavit for a search warrant was supposedly approved by Superior Court Judge Gale Adams.

Adams is a real judge and she later confirmed to authorities “that the signature displayed on the document was not hers,” Neylon wrote. Neylon’s affidavit also said the “search warrant” was “not in the proper format and does not have form AOC-CR-119, as required for State of North Carolina search warrants.”

Verizon provides address and phone logs

But after reviewing the email and document sent by “Cooper,” Verizon provided an address and phone logs. “On October 5, 2023, Verizon Wireless provided Victim 1’s phone records, including address and phone logs, to Glauner,” according to Neylon’s affidavit.

Verizon’s website says that the Verizon Security Assistance Team ensures that “court orders, search warrants, subpoenas and other legal demands served upon Verizon are processed confidentially and in compliance with all applicable law.”

“Verizon Security Assistance Team will only accept valid legal demands (subpoena, court order or search warrant) for records,” the VSAT webpage says.

We contacted Verizon about the incident today and will update this article if we get a response. A Verizon spokesperson told 404 Media that the company is cooperating with law enforcement on this matter.

Phone calls to victim’s parents

After providing the address and phone logs to Glauner, VSAT received another phone call from “Officer Cooper” on October 9. In that call, “the caller was asking how to read the data. Based on the conversation in the recorded call, it was confirmed that Glauner had obtained the records from Verizon Wireless. The caller indicated that the subscriber had changed phone numbers, and he had obtained the new number,” Neylon wrote.

It seems that Glauner may not have obtained the new phone number at that time, as VSAT continued to receive emails demanding the victim’s number and other information, according to the affidavit. Another “search warrant” asked for “GPS coordinates for said number, and all pictures being sent and received.”

Neylon’s affidavit goes on to describe how Glauner attempted to contact the victim and got arrested. On October 13, “Victim 1’s mother (hereafter Victim 2) received a voice message from Glauner concerning trying to contact Victim 1,” the affidavit said. “Between October 13 and October 22, 2023, Victim 2 received ten different voice messages from Glauner indicating that he was trying to reach Victim 1 and would not stop until he made contact with Victim 1.”

The victim’s father on October 16 received a text message with a picture of the victim and the message, “Do you know this girl?” the affidavit said. Glauner is also said to have repeatedly called a Raleigh business where the victim worked.

On October 15, an emergency call requested a welfare check on the victim’s apparent address. An officer responded to the call and determined that it was false. On October 23, police obtained a search warrant for a Google account associated with the phone number that “Officer Cooper” used to contact Verizon.

Police also learned that Glauner was wanted by the San Diego Sheriff’s Office on a charge of stalking an ex-girlfriend. In the California case, a police report “documented that [the victim] had ‘changed her phone number 4 times in the last four months but somehow [Glauner] keeps getting her number,'” according to Neylon.

Arrested on arrival

On October 26, the victim in North Carolina obtained a Tracphone and gave Glauner the number to reduce the amount of calls to her friends, family, and employer, the affidavit said.

“On November 5, 2023, Victim 1 advised that she received communications from Glauner that he was on his way to North Carolina,” the affidavit said. She allegedly received a long text message that read, in part, “I’m just going to turn around stop at a big five and give me a f*** rifle and some ammunition and if I can’t have you no one can you want to treat me like this well f*** you.”

Fearing for her life and general safety, “Victim 1 relayed information to law enforcement regarding Glauner’s whereabouts as he traveled from New Mexico to Raleigh, North Carolina,” the affidavit said. On November 6, police obtained an arrest warrant charging Glauner “with Extortion (for threatening to release Victim 1’s nude images to family members), Stalking, Cyberstalking, and Communication of Threats,” the affidavit said.

Police surveilled the address that Glauner was heading to “while Victim 1 and her family left the residence for the evening.” Glauner arrived in a Jeep Cherokee with New Mexico plates at about 9 pm on November 6 and was arrested.

“Glauner stopped directly in front of [the address] before entering the neighbor’s yard and standing in a darkened area, at which time members of RPD [Raleigh Police Department] arrested him,” the affidavit said. “A search incident to arrest revealed that he had a black folding razor blade knife on his person and two mobile phone devices. One of these mobile phone devices displayed an image of Victim 1 as the lock screen, and the screen displayed a notification that a text message was received from ‘Victim 1.'”

A search of the Jeep Cherokee allegedly turned up a glass meth pipe, eight grams of suspected methamphetamine, and two new bundles of rope that were still in plastic wrap. In addition to the North Carolina charges, Glauner was “charged with being a Fugitive from Justice for the outstanding warrant from California” and held at Wake County Jail on a $550,000 bond.

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