CANADIAN PRESS: "Police Y2K bug leaves seniors accused of crimes; Include pot possession and assault" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2000

Police Y2K bug leaves seniors accused of crimes
Include pot possession and assault

By LEE-ANNE GOODMAN -- The Canadian Press

TORONTO -- It's not every day grandpa gets busted for pot possession.

But a Y2K computer bug this week made for a regional police blotter filled with offences apparently committed by senior citizens gone crime-crazy.

In the days following the turn of the century, the daily crime sheet of the York region police featured:

-- An 80-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting and forcibly confining an 83-year-old woman just after midnight on Jan. 1.

-- A 69-year-old man charged with assault causing bodily harm and threatening death.

-- Two missing "youths" listed as being 83 and 84 years old.

-- A 64-year-old woman being held in custody on a Toronto warrant.

The Y2K computer glitch caused police software in the region, north of Toronto, to read 2000 as 1900 and the suspects' dates of birth as their ages.

The result was teenagers suddenly being transformed, at least on paper, into senior citizens.

Ken Loney, the computer services manager for the police department, confirmed the glitch was Y2K-related and said it was caught internally and fixed Monday morning.

He said even though the Y2K miscalculation didn't affect police operations, officers were less than amused when they learned of the glitch.

But it didn't get by the eagle eyes of a local crime reporter who pointed it out to chuckling police officers on duty Monday.

"It's a routine thing -- you look through the police blotter when you get to work and see what's up," said Rick Vanderlinde of the Newmarket, Ont.-based Era Banner, which publishes three times a week.

"I saw the one about the 80-year-old sexually assaulting and forcibly confining an 83-year-old woman and I thought, wow, that's quite a story."

He read on, and there seemed to be a genuine seniors' crime spree shaping up.

"I'm thinking, what's going on here? The seniors were saying: 'When I get to the millennium, I'm really going to let loose?' "

But when he reached the item about the 83- and 84-year-old missing youths, he knew something had screwed up.

He was right.

The youths, actually aged 15 and 16, made an appearance at the Newmarket police station in the days to follow -- providing visible proof they were many decades away from cashing their pension cheques.


-- John Whitley (, January 06, 2000


How much do you want to bet the bug has NOT been fixed, but rather they will have to "fix" each record manually (either by marking up paper records, or by entering wrong numbers into the data fields to trick the computer into "printing" the right data)

An automotive example: to start this car, do not use the ignition switch, instead activate the A/C. To release the parking break, press the horn. To put the car in reverse, put it into 3rd gear. To put it into first gear, turn the ignition switch. etc etc.

Left is right, and right is

-- haunchbakk (, January 06, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ