Dummies note: Internet makes stupid actions hard to hide

Part of me feels sorry for Miki Victoria Sudo. Her name is now all over the Internet, including Huffington Post, and it will linger there forever.

Sudo, 25, is the Las Vegas woman indicted last week on a federal charge related to fake bomb threats. She is charged with giving false information by calling an airline and saying that her boyfriend was going to “blow up the plane.” (Can’t wait to hear why.)

A University of Nevada, Las Vegas student who hopes to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in international business and finance, Sudo comes across as a complete dumb dumb.

And her timing couldn’t have been worse. The call was made on Sept. 11, 2010, one of those worrisome days in the United States.

In addition, US Airways Flight 399 from Las Vegas to Phoenix already had taken steps to return to McCarran International Airport because of mechanical issues when the pilot learned of the bomb threat.

The plane was taken to a secure area; the passengers deplaned and then underwent screening. All baggage was removed and rechecked for a possible bomb.

Indicted on one count of making a false bomb threat, Sudo, who speaks Japanese and English, faces the potential of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

How stupid is she?

U.S. Magistrate Robert Johnston released her on a personal recognizance bond Thursday, but placed restrictions on her, including that she find a job, not drink alcohol and undergo testing for alcohol and substance abuse. Public records show she has had two DUI arrests.

Any prospective employer who Googles her name is going to find countless news accounts about her now. With one absurd act, she probably has ruined any plans she had for a professional career.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Damm, who is prosecuting Sudo, has a similar case against Las Vegan Eugene Westbrooks II. They are the first two cases prosecuted in Nevada under a law enacted in December 2004.

Westbrooks, 39, also seems like a dim bulb. He was booked on Southwest Airlines Flight 1018 from Las Vegas to Hartford, Conn., on Dec. 22, 2007. But when he tried to get through the screening with a beer in his hand, he was denied access at the security checkpoint for being inebriated. He was escorted out of the airport.

Later, the airlines received an anonymous call from a male regarding his luggage on that flight.

The man said he was scheduled on that flight but blocked from boarding. Then he said, “How do you know there’s not a bomb in my luggage?”

Dumb de dumb dumb.

That flight was diverted to Omaha, Neb., and all passengers and luggage were searched. This was the Christmas holiday season, so some passengers possibly missed connecting flights and had trouble getting to their destination.

Westbrooks is scheduled for trial in June. Like Sudo, he was ordered not to drink alcohol while free on his personal recognizance bond.

Apparently, not drinking has been a challenge for the unemployed Westbrooks. In March, April and May, he tested positive for alcohol, according to Pretrial Services. That personal recognizance bond is now in danger of being revoked.

It’s unknown whether alcohol was in play with Sudo’s case, but it sure seems to have a leading role in Westbrooks’.

Both cases are being defended by the office of retiring Federal Public Defender Franny Forsman. The legal issue, she explained, is not whether they said the words, but what were the circumstances surrounding the statements and would anyone believe the callers?

Even if they are acquitted, the duo won’t have an easy time in the future.

The Internet has made it a lot harder to hide from one’s foolishness, and making fake bomb threats is the epitome of bad judgment.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call 702- 383-0275. She also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/morrison.

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