A federal grand jury is reported to be indicting 22-year-old Wyatt Travnichek for allegedly tampering with a public water system and negligently damaging a protected computer during unauthorized access. Travnichek reportedly worked in the Water District, which serves more than 1,500 retail and 10 wholesale customers in eight Kansas counties, from January 2018 to January 2019. Travnichek’s job was to monitor the water system by logging into the District’s computer system, so it was more like Travnichek was doing his old job. However, the Justice Department alleges that he registered with intent to cause harm.
According to the indictment, Travnichek accessed a proprietary computer system without authorization and “performed activities that shut down processes at the facility which affect the facility’s cleaning and disinfecting procedures.” Lance Ehrig, Special Agent in Charge of the EPA’s Law Enforcement Division in Kansas, stated, “By illegally tampering with a public drinking water system, the defendant threatened the safety and health of an entire community. EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to upholding the laws designed to protect our drinking water systems from harm or threat of harm. Today’s indictment sends a clear message that individuals who intentionally violate these laws will be vigorously prosecuted.”
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