An office worker angry at being refused a pay rise sabotaged his firm’s computer system by secretly squirting it with cleaning fluid Cillit Bang over three years. Edward Sobolewski crept into the main server room of his firm’s office in Oxford Business Park while he was at work, and also sometimes on his days off, to attack the computer network. He repeatedly caused the system to break down by secretly squirting and pouring the fluid into the main computer servers.
The 44-year-old, who admitted criminal damage, was caught on CCTV armed with a “distinctive purple and orange bottle” before sabotaging the network. Oxford Crown Court heard he caused £32,000 of damage at market research firm Frost and Sullivan over three years. Prosecutor Steve Malloy told Oxford Crown Court that managers had light-sensitive cameras placed in the firm’s server room after they began to suspect foul play.
He said Sobolewski was recorded entering the room on June 30 last year, a day when he should not have been at work. Mr Malloy said: “He entered into the room with a distinctive purple and orange bottle of Cillit Bang and the following day he was seen spraying it into the computer grills and then wiping the excess fluid away with a cloth. He is then seen pouring a container of liquid into one of the machines.”
Initially Sobolewski, of Hedgerley, Chinnor, claimed he was cleaning the servers but admitted what he had done when he saw the CCTV footage. He said he had become angry after being refused pay-rises and also did not agree with computer software used to monitor employees’ internet use. Hugh Williams, defending, said: “He accepts the level of damage and the period we are talking about. He knows it was wrong. At the time he was extremely depressed, although he did not seek medical help.” Sobolewski was jailed for eight months and ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to his former employer.