Cruise hoax

LISBON – A Columbiana County judge ordered cyber giants Twitter and Yahoo to turn over information about accounts involved in the Salem Super Cruise cancellation hoax, specifically in the name of Ken Keinst.

The Salem city service/safety director actually spells his name Ken Kenst. The person who claimed to be him and told vendors and a television station that Salem’s big event was cancelled when it wasn’t spelled his last name wrong.

Salem Police Det. Brad Davis has been investigating the hoax and fellow Det. Dave Talbert said Davis is trying to track down the origin of the messages sent via Twitter and a Yahoo email account.

Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike signed both orders Friday at the request of the county prosecutor’s office, for information to be provided to prosecutor’s office Investigator James Brown.

Both petitions noted that Davis was investigating “an identity theft and fraud involving the creation of a Yahoo email account and Twitter account in the name of Ken Keinst, City of Salem Safety Service Director.”

“The account holder utilized said accounts to disseminate false information to news media and vendors regarding the cancellation of an event within the city,” the petitions said.

The state also requested a non-disclosure order to prevent both Twitter and Yahoo from disclosing information to the account holder, although the information about the petitions being filed and the orders issued were a matter of public record.

City organizers of the Salem Super Cruise received phone calls the week of the event from at least three vendors who said they received calls from someone identifying themselves as Ken Kenst and telling them to pick up their equipment because the Cruise was cancelled. The vendors included a tent provider, garbage hauler and the provider of the porta-jons.

A Youngstown television station also reported receiving emails from someone pretending to be Kenst and saying the Cruise was cancelled. There was also a Twitter account, with three tweets related to the Cruise.

The Salem Super Cruise occurred as scheduled, with no problems reported as a result of the hoax.