Automatic internet logins helped catch American students who vandalised school

CCTV footage of the incident.
CCTV footage of the incident. Photo credit: Howard County Circuit Court.

Four American students charged with hate crimes at a high school were caught after their phones automatically connected to the school's Wi-Fi network.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported on the case of Glenelg High School in Maryland, which in May last year, was covered in racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas.

CCTV footage showed four people plastering the school in the discriminatory imagery, but shirts covered their faces.

However, The Post reports that the students - Joshua Shaffer, Seth Taylor, Matthew Lipp and Tyler Curtiss - were caught after it was found their phones automatically connected to the school's Wi-Fi network at the time of the incident.

When students first want to connect to the Wi-Fi they must enter their individual login identification details. However, thereafter, their devices will automatically connect when they are near to the campus.

The men were sentenced to a different number of weekends in the Howard County Jail, ranging from eight to 18, as well as probation and community service, according to The Post.