COVINGTON -- The owner of a Porterdale restaurant that provides WIFI to customers has filed a criminal complaint with the Newton County Sheriff's Office against a Porterdale Police officer who allegedly divulged the Internet password to a group of teens.
Judy Johnson, owner of the Perk Up and Wine Down Cafe and former Porterdale city clerk, alleges Porterdale Police Lt. Jason Cripps gave the password to a group of Explorer Scouts meeting next door to the restaurant after one of the Explorers had attempted to elicit the password from Johnson's daughter.
"A friend texted my daughter and asked her for the password and she told her she couldn't share the password," Johnson said, adding that a few minutes later another text came through that stated, "You're not as sneaky as you think you are," and going on to say that Cripps had announced the password to the group.
"I'm thinking, 'I'm not sneaking. I'm just trying to run a business," Johnson said. "During normal business hours we provide WIFI to paying customers. It is not a free service, but a service I provide to customers who would like to come in and make a purchase and use our Internet. It is password protected."
Johnson said she changes the password periodically, but likened the incident to someone with a water spigot outside their home.
"Just because you know how to turn on the faucet, that doesn't give you permission to use the water," she said.
Johnson said she was able to log on to the system's router and capture the IP addresses of eight or nine unrecognized users. She said she will furnish that information, along with the texts which were sent and saved on her daughter's phone, to investigators.
Johnson also filed a complaint with the Porterdale Police Department alleging that Cripps violated the department's standards of conduct by "obtaining tools (i.e. Internet) on misrepresentation; stealing property of person; and abusive conduct toward member of public."
In that complaint Johnson alleges, "My password is protected -- not open to general public. Mr. Cripps has never been a customer in my shop nor has he ever asked for or been given permission to use my Internet.
"This is at the least theft of services and a violation of his code of office. He has acted in a manner that violates a citizen and a local business. I ask for his prompt removal of office."
First Lt. Mark Mitchell with the NCSO said he is aware of the complaint Johnson filed with that agency.
"A report was filed from the complainant over the weekend and the case is in the initial stages of the investigation," Mitchell said.
Porterdale Police Chief Geoff Jacobs was contacted regarding the complaint and said he wouldn't have any comment until the criminal investigation is complete.