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Homemade Computers Found Hidden in a Prison Ceiling

Some inmates went on an “illegal surfing spree.”

The spot in the ceiling where the computers were found.
The spot in the ceiling where the computers were found. Ohio Inspector General/Public Domain

The hole in the ceiling you see above is where two industrious prison inmates stashed computers they’d built from old and salvaged parts. That’s according to a state report released Tuesday, which details how the cons at central Ohio’s Marion Correctional Institution managed to hide the computers— and use the prison’s own network—for weeks. 

The scheme was finally uncovered in 2015, after IT employees at the prison noticed some strange network activity, in addition to a mysterious cable leading into the ceiling in a room at the prison. There, they found the two machines attached to some plywood. 

What information were the inmates trying to access? Pretty much what you’d expect. They accessed an article on how to commit tax refund fraud, applied for some credit cards in another prisoner’s name, and downloaded some TV shows, music, movies, and porn, according to the report. Or, as the The Columbus Dispatch put it, an “illegal surfing spree,” which must have been good while it lasted.