PLA015 Beige Boxing In Celina, Ohio

Confessions of a Beige Boxer

Written by RedBoxChiliPepper on January 25, 1995

Last revision on January 29, 1995, 1995

Here's what happened when I took beige boxing just a little too far while living in Celina, Ohio (population 8000). I started out like most people, just finding a telco box or a neighbor's box on the side of their house, plugging in my phone and dialing away at the 900 numbers and harrassing operators. But that got really old after awhile. So I set up sort of a permanent beige box on my next door neighbor's line. I hooked a line into their box, ran it under the siding to make it invisible, down next to a basement window and into the ground. From there I dug a trench in the ground about 3 inches deep from their box to my box and hooked the wire into my box, to the yellow and black wires.

Now I could use their line to call bbses around the world for free! I decided not to make any direct long distance calls so they wouldn't start investigating and find the extra line going into the ground. So I only third-number billed and used calling cards from their line and tried as best as I could not to annoy the operators too bad.


So you see, it started out sort of innocently, but then I began to eavesdrop on a lot of my neighbors' conversations. After awhile the conversations got sort of boring so I hooked up my two-line phone to both of the lines and started conferencing total strangers onto their line while they were in the middle of a conversation, which caused quite a bit of confusion, especially when I hooked them up to overseas people. Then to make things worse, I'd pop in and say in a deep voice, "Please deposit 25 cents!"

Pretty soon, my neighbors got to be too boring for me. I mean, they reacted to my pranks on their line the exact same way every time and their conversations without me were totally boring, hardly worth listening to. So I went to my other next door neighbor's house one night to check out the possibilities on their line and ended up doing the same thing to their line only running the line in my basement window and upstairs to the spare bedroom where the other two lines were hooked up.

Since I only had one conference phone that didn't work very well to begin with, I decided to build a simple switchboard on top of my desk. It ended up being a piece of sheet metal with five 2-position switches on it. Switch 1 was my own phone line, switch 2 was the first neighbor's line and switch 3 was the other neighbor's line. Also, each switch had a light above it to indicate In-Use. Normally, the switches would be in the "off" position. If I wanted to use a line, I flipped it on and hit the speakerphone button on my desk phone or used my official Bell operator headset. (Actually, one of those cheap headsets that you buy from Radio Shack but hey, I drew a Bell symbol on it!)

So now with their two lines and my own three-way calling line, I had a total of four phone lines to play with. The new neighbor's calls proved to be much more interesting that the others. They had a son and teen-aged daughter who liked to talk on the phone alot. And when their conversations did get a little boring, PLA Ohio I helped them out by patching my Sound Blaster card directly into my switch- board so I could add sound effects, movie clips and rude noises to their conversation. Lemme tell you, their reaction to this was fantasic. Each kid would blame it on the other and when I did it to either of the parents, they would yell at their kids to quit playing around on the phone.

Now I'm happy and have plenty of things to do with my spare time which I have a lot of. I'd been using various calling cards from both of their lines late at night to call bulletin boards for about a month and a half and still Telco Security hadn't called them up questioning them about anything. I thought maybe they were just trying to build a case against them and were holding out for more fraud. In any case, I decided to keep close tabs on their phone calls in case AT&T called them questioning anything so I'd have advance warning to sneak back over and disconnect their lines. To help with this I bought a few of those cool Radio Shack deals that automatically records all incomming and outgoing calls on your lines so I could keep up with their phone calls while I was at work.

Then something horrible happened. Most of my favorite phone companies around the United States figured out that they were being ripped off big time by people who order calling cards with personalized pin numbers for other people. This security flaw was my major source of calling cards and now they had set it up so if you wanted to do this you needed the victim's social security number. Getting their social security number isn't a super hard task but it sure was a pain in the ass to have to do that every time I wanted a new calling card. They were making things hard for me. I only had about twenty cards left and my cards went dead pretty quick lately because of my extensive international calling. I could third-number bill everything but if you've ever tried to do that for a bbs call you know that it's a pain in the ass to get it right.

That's when I went over to the window and looked across the street. I saw a little shop with a pay phone next to it and a guy in a suit talking on the pay phone. Since car phones aren't a big thing yet in this little town, the few yuppies that there are usually stop by this phone to make their important phone calls. And of course they prefer credit cards to pocket change. A plan started to form in my head. Of course I couldn't run a phone wire underneath the street because I just might be noticed using a jackhammer on the concrete. So...

That night at 3:00 a.m. I got on my cellular phone and dialed the direct line to the Celina police. I explained to them that I had just seen a few kids jump the fence to the boat yard and break into the office. I listened in on my scanner as the dispatcher sent all available units to the boat yard. (All two of them, eh?) I was ready when I heard that and I ran across the street to the pay phone. I had done this a million times before but usually it was in a secluded area and there wasn't such time pressure.

I pulled out my specially cut alan wrench and opened the bottom panel of the pay phone. I set the base unit of my cordless phone there in the bottom and clipped the wires into the pay phone line. Then I plugged the AC cord into the receptacle. (Most phones have these in the bottom panel to power the light on top of the phone.) I wrapped a garbage bag around the phone to protect it from water damage and the evil GTE linemen and put the panel back on. The whole thing took less than four minutes. Meanwhile, the brutal Celina police force are crawling around the boat yard with flashlights, looking underneath all the boats for these hardended criminal kids. They never found them, though.

I went back home and picked up my cordless handset. I turned it on and dialed the local Wal-Mart. A recording came on, telling me to deposit twenty-five cents. So I called a number a little further away. I called Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California and was asked to deposit $2.25. I tried red boxing the coins in but I think the reception was screwing it up. I ended up going through a live operator who put the call through for me.

I decided I'd better get this fixed. I didn't need GTE dropping a trouble card on my pay phone and discovering my cordless base unit in there. So I took the handset apart and hard-wired it into my switchboard. I replaced the rechargable batteries with an AC line and built a red box on the switchboard that was hooked diectly into the cordless phone's microphone. Then I boosted the antenna by hooking it to the old T.V. antenna on top of my house. This was getting to be pretty fun!

The next morning I had the alarm set for 10:00 a.m. so I could sit at my window and wait for yuppies to use my pay phone. My first customer came at 10:18, a little kid who used a copper slug. Damn him, I should call his parents for this. Anyway, I came on and impersonated the operator, telling him he was in big trouble and if he didn't put in a real fifty cents immediately I would come over there and rip that St. Louis Cardinals hat right off his head and hit him with it. He hung up, looked nervously around and quickly disappeared into the alley.

At 10:57, while I was in the middle of my Frosted Flakes breakfast, the neighborhood mailman stopped by to use the phone. I looked through my binoculars and saw him punch a "zero" first. I was so happy, milk came out of my nose. When he tried to enter his calling card number, I interferred by hitting some extra numbers. He tried it again and I messed him up again. Then I heard the AT&T recording, "Please hold for operator assisstance." An operator came on and asked for his card number. He read it off as I wrote it down. I was so grateful to him that I didn't even harrass him during his call.

I got three calling card numbers that day. The next day I got a little more creative. I got on the pay phone line and dialed a phone company number that just sat there, blank. When a guy picked up the phone, I played a recording of a dial tone into the phone. When he began dialing I stopped the recording and when he finished dialing I played the recording, "AT&T! Please enter your calling card number now..." He began to enter his calling card and I came on and talked to him in a really annoying nasal voice.

ME: "AT&T, What seems to be the problem?"
HIM:"I'm just using my calling card."
ME: "Okay, what's your calling card number?"
HIM: Gives me his number.
ME: "That card's not going through here. Do you have another card?"
HIM:"Uh...yeah, I have my AT&T calling card."
ME: "Okay, let's try that one."
HIM: Gives me his number.
ME: "Okay...Yep, that one's okay. Here's your call and fuck you for using AT&T"

I had no idea what number he had dialed in the first place so I got an old recording of Tina, the fone sex operator and put it on the line. "Hi, this is Tina...Are you ready for a hot time?..." The poor guy tried to talk to her and finally realized that it was a recording and hung up. I watched him walk down the street and use the phone booth a few blocks away.

A few days later I bought one of those touch tone decoders. It had a LCD display that showed me exactly what digits were being dialed on any line I hooked it up to. I hooked this into my switchboard and not only was it easier for me to get calling cards, I could see exactly who my neighbors were calling. I started keeping files on the neighbors and who they called. Oh, did I mention that I have no life. You may have figured that out already.

Two months later not much had changed. I still had the same setup and was working on expanding it. I added 10 more switches to it for extra lines and started wandering around my neighbors' yards late at night, looking for new possibilities. I also hooked an old bulky cellular phone into my setup so I could connect neighbors to the cellular roaming network and I added another phone so I could listen in on more that one line at a time without them hearing each other.

The little green telco box on our block is very well secluded. It sits near some bushes in the alley behind my house, about three houses over. The only problem with it is that it's sitting right underneath a bright street light. I eventually took care of the street light with my pump pellet rifle. It took an hours worth of patience to finally hit it just right, but I finally turned it off. That being accomplished, I went to the hardware store and bought a cable. This nifty little cable had fifty separate wires inside of it, enough to hook twenty-five phones to.

When dark finally came, I grabbed my back pack and hiked over to the telco box. I opened it and started hooking my phone, dialing 1-800-MY-ANI-IS on every set of terminals in there and taking notes of what was what. I was going to go for choice and pick my least favorite neighbors but decided that would take forever so I hooked up to the first fifty terminals (on the backside, so telco wouldn't notice) and put the box back together. I hoped I hadn't hooked up one of my neighbor's that I already had hooked to my house 'cause it'd suck to waste a whole line like that.

Now the hard part. I dug a trench a few inches deep from the telco box, down the alley, into my own back yard, then through the yard and into that little hole underneath my basement window. It took me over three hours to complete all this but when I was finished there wasn't a trace that anything strange was going on. I had to cut a hole in the floor to get the cable upstairs to my switchboard and found myself hoping that my land lord wouldn't drop by anytime soon. He gets testy when I drill holes in his property. So I got that far and went to bed. I couldn't really do much more 'cause I needed to go to Radio Shack and buy some more switches and a larger piece of sheet metal.

Another month passes. I've dicovered that I've got access to the phones in random houses as far away as two blocks and another pay phone. I've hooked about every sound device I own into the switchboard, including my computer's Sound Blaster, tape deck, CD player, voice changer and echo machine. I have the ability to hook twenty-eight lines up to a single phone, creating a monster party line of confused people and my calling card list has reached almost 100 numbers. That's the most I've ever had all at once.

Then on Friday the power bill arrived. It was an outrageous amount, probably because I have a habit of turning on heaters while opening windows, leaving lights on all day, my computer, etc. It didn't seem fair that I should have to pay so much to them, especially since I stopped going to work as often so I could sit at home and play operator. My neighbors have a receptacle on their deck that they use to plug in the bug lamp and sometimes a radio. I figure if they're not using it all that much, I'll take advantage of that.

That night I dig down about a foot where the plug is and cut open a section of the plastic pipe to expose their wires. Carefully using rubber gloves and pliers, I managed to splice my orange 100 foot extension cord into their line. I ran that under ground to my basement window and start plugging my large appliances in. The refrigerator, space heater, microwave and electric oven. So I walk over to their power meter and peer in to the glass bubble and notice the disk is spinning quite rapidly. Oh, well. They own a pool and deck. Obviously they can afford a little more electricity.

I figure that if they're rich, they can probably afford cable T.V. and I notice that their cable line is conveinently located next to their phone box. So the day after that I get free cable. A few weeks later, free cable alone just isn't enough for me. I want to be able to control what my neighbors watch. So I hook up sort of a loop so that their cable line is comming to my house before it gets to them. Then I build this little switchboard next to my phone switchboard that consists of a few T.V. monitors, a VCR, a video camera and some video mixing devices.

By the time I'm through hooking it all up, I have the power to change their channels, make them watch my home video collection or wipe their T.V. show off the air with a variety of 37 different wiping techniques! I also have a monitor set up showing me exactly what they're seeing in their house. By now you're probably wondering what these neighbors did to me to make me want to be so mean spirited to them. Well, nothing. They just lived at the wrong house at the wrong time.

I tune in to their phone and T.V. The old lady is talking to Gertrude while watching The Price Is Right and her husband is out in back, trying to figure out the problems they've been having with their bug zapper light. I leave her T.V. picture on but mute the sound so I can talk over Bob Barker. Using my voice changer, I make the following announcement:

"Greetings, Earthling Mildred. I am alien visitor Q359-Kriegsmitzelpapshmeer. I come in peace. Take me to your leader, Bob Barker or I will disentigrate your house. Oh, and I also want a Metallica box CD set and I want to know what a vaccum cleaner is..."

I left them alone completely until Mildred got back from the hospital. While they were gone, I bought some heavy duty wire and tapped in to their circuit breaker box, giving me complete control. I also ran their water line through my house so I could leech and control that. When they got home Mildred got in the shower and Herb sat down to watch Tammy Faye Bakker (whatever) on T.V. I walked over to my "Department of Water" switchboard and turned a valve. This valve released the five gallon tank of washing machine Blue (dye) into their water lines. Then I popped in the porno video "Edward Penishands" and sent that into their living room T.V. set. Herb was so engrossed in his show that he didn't even hear Mildred screaming something about alien invasions.

A few months later after spending the day mowing my neighbor's lawn while they were gone (I mowed the words "WE COME IN PEACE"), it's 2:30 in the morning and I grab my backpack and sprint over the the Celina Power & Light building. I begin to dig a trench from their building to my basement window...

I think I've been using a few too many illegal substances or something. Actually, I made this whole thing up. I was bored, okay? Anyone that believed any of it even for a second needs to have their head checked out. So the story is probably full of holes although I really did live in Celina, Ohio for a few months and ran up quite a hefty phone bill. It was my own bill, though. I really hope this file is an inspiration to all and hope that the Celina Police will stop looking for those kids in the boat yard after they read this.

Free Power, Cable & Phone:

What's a PLA file without an instructional part? If you live in an apartment, doing all of this is super easy because you don't have to run around the neighborhood digging holes and the chances of getting caught are practically nothing.


Find a wall in your apartment that is also the wall of the person living next door. About a foot from the floor cut a small hole in the wall. Using a flash- light and maybe a mirror, look around in there to see if you can find the neighbor's recepticle. If you can't, cut a hole a couple feet over and try again.

Once you find one, splice open the outer covering to the wires, exposing two more wires. Splice those open, keeping in mind that these are live wires so be careful unless you consider afro hairstyles to be "in." If you don't want to work with the live wires you can either cross the two wires with a screwdriver or something, tripping the breaker or find their power box and shutting their power off. If you can't do this, then continue carefully.

So hook up your own extension cord or whatever into their line and tape up all the exposed stuff with electrical tape so you don't burn down your apartment. Plug in all your appliances that suck up a lot of juice into their line. Space heaters and the fridge is a good place to start.

Cable & Phones:

Use pretty much the same method to obtain free cable and phone. Start punching holes in the walls until you find their cable and phone lines and splice your own hookups into theirs. The chances of them ever finding any of this are pretty slim 'cause when a big power bill arrives, the man of the house does not generally start knocking holes in the walls, looking for the source of the problem. It's a good idea to not make any direct long distance calls from the phone. Besides, if you start dialing a bunch of 900 numbers, his poor kids are gonna get grounded.

Another way to get the phone line is to find the main phone box on the outside of the apartment. Each customer should have four terminals, a green, red, yellow and black. So find out which terminals are yours. Now pick your neighbor's red and green terminals and hook them to your black and yellow. If you don't have a legitimate phone to begin with, you can hook them to your red and green or find another neighbor's line and hook that to your red and green so you'll have two "pirate" lines. Remember, if funny things start happening to them, it won't be too hard for the phone company to look in the box and see that you're responsible.

Now I sure hope that your good at patching up holes in the walls because when your apartment manager sees all the holes, you'll probably be evicted. If you're not bright enough to patch the holes, trying lowering the pictures on the walls to cover them. I'm sure that won't look suspicious. Or get your little brother to stick his head in the hole and tell him never to move.

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