$400 fine for using Wi-Fi without buying a cup of joe

Steal some Wi-Fi, go to jail. In the sleepy town of Sparta, MI, Sam Peterson, perhaps the cheapest man in the world, sat in his car outside the Union Street coffee shop using its network - without the decency to buy a lousy cup of joe, reports News.

Steal some Wi-Fi, go to jail. In the sleepy town of Sparta, MI, Sam Peterson, perhaps the cheapest man in the world, sat in his car outside the Union Street coffee shop using its network - without the decency to buy a lousy cup of joe, reports News.com.

Peterson would log on around noon everyday, arousing the suspicions of local Police Chief Andrew Milanowski. Peterson, probably not knowing his actions were criminal, freely admitted what he was doing.

"I knew that the Union Street had Wi-Fi. I just went down and checked my e-mail and didn't see a problem with that," Peterson said.

In fact, Milanowski was unaware the practice known as "piggybacking" was illegal, so his did a bit of legal research. "I had a feeling a law was being broken," said Milanowski. He found Michigan's "Fraudulent access to computers, computer systems, and computer networks" law, a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

"This is the first time that we've actually charged it," Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Lynn Hopkins said, adding that "we'd been hoping to dodge this bullet for a while."

Milannowski wrote Peterson out a ticket but he won't do time. Peterson, however, will have to pay a $400 fine, do 40 hours of community service and enroll in the county's diversion program. Perhaps it would be fitting punishment to make him spend that $400 on coffee at the Union Street and do his community washing dishes.