From the “ewwwwwww” files: Most people, when they renew their driver’s license or apply for a DMV permit, don’t consider the process to be a particularly emotionally fraught one. But that wasn’t the case for a Department of Motor Vehicles worker in New York State, who has been arrested for misusing the DMV computers in a quest to ask a special lady out on a date.
Peter Grosseto, 29, of Willow Road, Staten Island, was working away at his job as a customer service representative at the DMV, taking people’s cases as their numbers came up in the automated queue system. He worked side-by-side with other CSRs, so he could see other citizens with business at other desks. Apparently, one woman being served by a colleague particularly caught his fancy. Like, really caught his fancy.
What’s a lovelorn, potentially mentally unstable DMV worker to do? Grosseto decided that the logical thing would be to creep on her in the most privacy-invasive way possible: He looked up her personal information in the system in order to contact her later.
An investigation conducted by the DMV's Division of Field Investigation found that he was allegedly successful in obtaining her name and phone number without her knowledge. He is then alleged to have used DMV computers three times—three!—to improperly access her other personal information, presumably to find out more about the object of his “affection” (obsession is more like it). But then the situation takes a particularly sinister turn.
The investigation found that Grosseto later allegedly called the woman at home, at first feigning to be a DMV quality assurance representative, but ultimately admitting his real reason for calling was to ask her for a date.
No word on whether the woman declined the offer, or complained to the police—but it would stand to reason that a guy with that kind of single-minded, selfish intent wouldn’t have stopped at hearing a “no” over the phone. Her address of course would have been easily accessible along with her phone number.
Grosseto was arraigned in Richmond County Criminal Court pending future court action, and he was suspended without pay from the DMV. He was charged with computer trespass, which is a felony, and two misdemeanors: The unauthorized use of a computer and official misconduct.
“This defendant set aside any semblance of professionalism and illegally accessed State resources to satisfy his own interests and harass a customer with unwelcome advances,” said Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, in announcing the arrest. “I will not tolerate any government employee’s violation of the public trust or violation of any citizen’s privacy and dignity.”
“This defendant is a government employee who is alleged to have abused his position in order to illegally access an individual’s private information,” said Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “Mr. Grosseto is charged with violating the public trust for his own selfish gains, and my office will work to ensure that he is held accountable for his crimes and that the public safety is protected.”
Photo © Andrey_Popov