All things considered, Erik Bloodaxe got off easy. A short while after the authorities had packed up everything that could be used against him — and they could not have been happy about finding absolutely nothing there, after tearing his place apart — my buddy Sam got a phone call from a mutual friend, who lived across the parking lot from Sam’s place.
Please assume that I’m filtering unhelpful profanity when reporting these college-era conversations. I hope my friends can forgive me if this dialog sounds less like something they’d say, lacking some of its color.
“Hey, you’re unlikely believe this thing I need to relate to you,” said the mutual friend. “I just got a call from Bloodaxe.” They only knew him by his real name, of course. Since it adds nothing to reveal his true name, I’ll keep calling him Mr. Bloodaxe. “He wanted me to look out my window,” continued the mutual friend, “and see if there were any cop cars or anything unexpected going on around your apartment.”
“Is there?” asked Sam, probably with something more than idle concern. I imagine him scanning his room for clothes.
“No, I told him everything was cool as far as I could see, but — he just got busted! The cops came in, all kinds of cops! Took everything with a number on it, and….” And he related as much of the story as Mr. Bloodaxe had told him. “He didn’t want to call you directly. He’s really worried about his stuff.”
After reclaiming his hidden-closet stuff, Erik Bloodaxe only ended up being out some junk that didn’t mean anything to him anyway. He was never charged with a crime, and to my knowledge he wasn’t bothered any further by the authorities.
He was the most legit hacker any of us knew. So it was all the more unexpected that he was the luckiest of all the people who had authorities leveling pistols at them that day.