According to a report by the Kokomo Perspective, Howard, Indiana Sheriff’s Department deputy Matt Roberson was able to track down wanted fugitive Alfred Hightower thanks in part to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft online game.
“You hear stories about you can’t get someone through the Internet,” Roberson told the paper. “Guess what? You can. I just did. Here you are, playing World of Warcraft, and you never know who you’re playing with.”
Hightower, a known drug dealer, was able to slip by authorities this past summer during an extensive search, and moved to Canada undetected. Roberson discovered later though a number of sources Hightower was a huge World of Warcraft fan and asked Blizzard for help.
“We received information that this guy was a regular player of an online game, which was referred to as ‘some warlock and witches’ game,” Roberson added. “None of that information was sound enough to pursue on its own, but putting everything we had together gave me enough evidence to send a subpoena to Blizzard Entertainment. I knew exactly what he was playing — World of Warcraft. I used to play it. It’s one of the largest online games in the world.”
Blizzard was able to provide Roberson with an abundance of information, including Hightower’s IP address, account name, and even his billing address.
“I did a search off the IP address to locate him,” said Roberson. “I got a longitude and latitude. Then I went to Google Earth. It works wonders. It uses longitude and latitude. Boom! I had an address. I was not able to go streetside at the location, but I had him.”
Canadian authorities then apprehended Hightower in Ottawa, Ontario and had him deported back to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he now currently waits to face charges in Indiana.