Alfred Hightower had been on the run since 2007, when a warrant was issued for his arrest on drug-dealing charges. Hightower was apparently from Kokomo, Indiana, but had fled to Canada. His downfall, though, was that he spent a lot of time in World of Warcraft.
That was not a place he could hide from intrepid Howard County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Roberson. Roberson heard through the grapevine that Hightower was in Canada, and began gathering information about him to see if he could confirm that. A source told him that Hightower regularly played an online game that the source described as "some warlock and witches game." That sounds like the source was maybe somebody's grandma, but it didn't take Roberson long to guess that this was probably World of Warcraft.
Roberson then contacted Blizzard Entertainment, the company that runs the game (which has, remarkably, more than 14 million players worldwide), and asked if it would help track Hightower down. Blizzard is located in Orange County, California, and so was beyond the reach of a Howard County subpoena. But after three or four months, Blizzard handed over the info. It gave up Hightower's IP address, online screen name, account information and history, and billing address. Either the billing address was not current or Roberson is as big a geek as I am, because he located Hightower by running an IP address search that allows you to determine longitude and latitude, plugged that into Google Earth, got an address, and called the Mounties.
The report has a link to Hightower's actual character information on the Warcraft website. Surprisingly, he was not able to defeat the Canadians even though he is a level 80 shaman who wields a Titansteel Spellblade in his Deadly Gladiator's Ringmail Gauntlets. On the other hand, he is more of a healer than anything else, so he may have just been overwhelmed by the formidable Mounted Police of the North. They picked him up in Ottawa and deported him.
It seems to me like there are a few unanswered questions as to how exactly the deputy got his man (or whatever). Roberson admitted he "knew exactly what" Hightower was playing because he "used to play it" himself. Maybe Rastlynn the Shaman killed the wrong elf online, and ended up paying for it in real life.
Link: Kokomo Perspective