Sledgehammers and Technical Knowledge: A Break-in at an ISP

July 21, 2005
Wisconsin ISP facility hit by robbers month after surveillance camera was stolen

Slinger - Sledgehammer-wielding burglars stole and damaged $20,000 worth of equipment at a local wireless Internet provider's transmitting facility early Tuesday, shutting down service to more than 1,000 customers for about eight hours, the owner said Wednesday.

Steve Wegner, owner of NConnect Inc., said the thieves broke into the facility, which is on a hill just outside the village, at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

They broke down its doors, destroyed its transmitter panels using sledgehammers and then carried nearly 100 pounds of equipment down the hill to their vehicles.

Wenger found out about the burglary when a friend called him at 5 a.m. to tell him the NConnect Web site was down. He was able to get everything back online by midmorning with the help of spare parts he kept and those provided by NetwurX Inc., a Hartford-based Internet service provider.

Earlier this month, a video surveillance camera was stolen from the facility.

Wenger and Slinger Police Chief Dean Schmidt said they suspect Tuesday's burglary was committed by the same person or people who stole the camera.

Wenger said it looks as if the crime was committed by someone who wanted to hurt his Internet business because some of the equipment that was stolen is unusable apart from other equipment used by Wenger.

The thieves obviously were technically knowledgeable, he said.

"They only removed data connections" when the surveillance camera was stolen, he said. "They were savvy enough to know the difference. They knew what they wanted."

Wenger said he had "no clue" as to suspects.

Story appears courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, online at