Verizon fell for fake “search warrant,” gave victim’s phone data to stalker

Enlarge / A Verizon logo at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2019 on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

Verizon Wireless gave a female victim’s address and phone logs to an alleged stalker who pretended to be a police officer, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent. The man, Robert Michael Glauner, was later arrested near the victim’s home and found to be carrying a knife at the time, according to the affidavit submitted in court yesterday.

Glauner allegedly traveled from New Mexico to Raleigh, North Carolina, after finding out where she lived and, before arriving, sent a threatening message that said, “if I can’t have you no one can.” He also allegedly threatened to send nude photos of the victim to her family members.

Glauner was charged yesterday with stalking and fraud “in connection with obtaining confidential phone records” in US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. We aren’t posting or linking directly to the court record because it seems to contain the victim’s home address. The incident was previously reported by 404 Media.

Glauner and the victim met in August or September 2023 on, a porn website with dating features, and “had an online romantic relationship,” the affidavit said. The victim ended the relationship, but Glauner “continued to contact or try to contact” her, the document said.

Glauner tricked Verizon into providing sensitive information by sending an email and fake search warrant to [email protected], the email address for the Verizon Security Assistance Team (VSAT), which handles legal requests. Verizon didn’t realize the request was fraudulent even though it came from a Proton Mail address rather than from a police department or other governmental agency, according to the affidavit filed yesterday by FBI Special Agent Michael Neylon.

Fake cop, forged judge’s signature

An email to Verizon from “[email protected]” on September 26, 2023, said, “Here is the pdf file for search warrant. We are in need if the [sic] this cell phone data as soon as possible to locate and apprehend this suspect. We also need the full name of this Verizon subscriber and the new phone number that has been assigned to her. Thank you.”

The email’s attached document contained a fake affidavit written by “Detective Steven Cooper” of the Cary, North Carolina Police Department. The Cary Police Department confirmed that no officer named Steven Cooper is employed by their agency, Neylon wrote.

VSAT received a phone call the same day from a man identifying himself as Cooper, who stated that he needed information on a suspect in a homicide case. “The caller stated that the person involved changed her phone number,” Neylon wrote.

The fake affidavit asked for the new phone number as well as “call records both outgoing and incoming” and “locations and text messages incoming and outgoing.” The affidavit for a search warrant was supposedly approved by Superior Court Judge Gale Adams.

Adams is a real judge and she later confirmed to authorities “that the signature displayed on the document was not hers,” Neylon wrote. Neylon’s affidavit also said the “search warrant” was “not in the proper format and does not have form AOC-CR-119, as required for State of North Carolina search warrants.”

Verizon provides address and phone logs

But after reviewing the email and document sent by “Cooper,” Verizon provided an address and phone logs. “On October 5, 2023, Verizon Wireless provided Victim 1’s phone records, including address and phone logs, to Glauner,” according to Neylon’s affidavit.

Verizon’s website says that the Verizon Security Assistance Team ensures that “court orders, search warrants, subpoenas and other legal demands served upon Verizon are processed confidentially and in compliance with all applicable law.”

“Verizon Security Assistance Team will only accept valid legal demands (subpoena, court order or search warrant) for records,” the VSAT webpage says.

We contacted Verizon about the incident today and will update this article if we get a response. A Verizon spokesperson told 404 Media that the company is cooperating with law enforcement on this matter.

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