A woman is accused of using a computer at a national laboratory to hack into a cell phone company’s Web site to get a number for Chester Bennington, lead singer of the Grammy-winning rock group Linkin Park.
According to an affidavit filed by the Department of Defense Inspector General, Devon Townsend, 27, obtained copies of Bennington’s cell phone bill, the phone numbers he called and digital pictures taken with the phone.
Investigators said she also hacked into the e-mail of Bennington’s wife, Talinda Bennington, and at one point called her and threatened her.
Talinda Bennington told federal authorities last month that someone had accessed their Verizon Wireless account online, according to the affidavit, and expressed concern that a “stalker” had access to personal information.
Townsend waived her right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court and was released to her mother’s custody. She is accused of using a computer at her former workplace, Sandia National Laboratories, to access Bennington’s cell phone information. Lab spokesman Michael Padilla said Wednesday that she no longer worked there.
Townsend’s attorney, Ray Twohig, said that investigators were still analyzing his client’s computer and that it remains to be seen what exact violations will be alleged.
“This is the Internet version of a groupie hiding in Mick Jagger’s dressing room,” Twohig said. “We’re in a different age, and fans have more skills than they used to.”
Townsend’s computer wasn’t connected to classified data, Padilla said.
The affidavit says that during a search of Townsend’s home in Albuquerque, investigators found Linkin Park posters, autographed band memorabilia, pictures of Townsend with Chester Bennington, bootlegged Linkin Park music and copies of messages and photographs intercepted from the Bennington family’s e-mail accounts.
A person who answered the phone Friday at Time Warner — Linkin Park’s label is Warner Bros. Music — said no one would be available to comment until Monday.
Sandia National Laboratories develop technology to support national security, according to its Web site.
Linkin Park has sold more than 36 million records worldwide. In February, Linkin Park and rapper Jay-Z shared a Grammy Award for best rap/sung collaboration for “Numb/Encore.” In 2001, the band won a Grammy for best hard rock performance for “Crawling.”