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Apple sued over shrink-wrapped Mafia death threats

An iPod you can't refuse

A Beverly Hills, California man is suing Apple, the St. Louis Police Department, the FBI, an auto mechanic, and others for aiding and abetting the Italian Mafia's attempt to force him to become a New York fashion model.

Plaintiff George McKenna filed a painstakingly detailed 124-page pro se complaint with the US District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri contending that his troubles began when "three members of the alleged Italian Mafia proceeded to threaten to murder Plaintiff at a nightclub called Velvet located in St. Louis, Missouri."

The nefarious Mafiosi, it seemed, made McKenna an offer he couldn't refuse in their plot to force him to continue working as a fashion model at a New York agency called Bossmodels.

"We're going to kill you if you don't model for us in New York," the bad guys allegedly threatened the refusenik Brüno.

A few weeks later, when the Mafia appeared at his home, McKenna - as would any right-minded citizen - called the St. Louis Police Department. And that's when things got weird.

"Despite being held at gunpoint and receiving threats of imminent death from the Mafia members, the STLPD officers wrongfully refused to arrest the perpetrators and left the scene of the crime," which allowed the miscreants to "stalk, make extortion threats, attempt rape, and kidnap Plaintiff."

McKenna tried to get help from the FBI. But no dice. They said it was an STLPD matter.

Then the Mafia began to harass McKenna through "illegal communication devices planted in his home, vehicle, residence, workplace, church, and other places that he publicly frequents."

Understandably, he hired a private investigations company with the reassuringly professional name of A-1 Private Investigations to sweep his home for bugs - which the complaint alleges were found in his "bedroom, living room, upstairs bathroom, and Toyota Camry."

However, after McKenna presented the bug-discovering report to the STLPD, A-1 denied it. "As a direct and proximate result, the Mafia was allowed to continue stalking, extorting, and torturing Plaintiff."

The auto mechanic entered the saga when he diagnosed a loud sound coming from the rear passenger side of McKenna's 1998 Audi A4 Quattro as being a loose wheel bearing, which McKenna contends was actually caused by "illegal communication devices being used by the Mafia to stalk, extort, and torture Plaintiff."

McKenna discovered that the mechanic was in on the plot when he began to hear the same sound in other cars in which he was a passenger. He bought himself a bug detector, which he says proved his suspicions correct.

Then he bought an iPod shuffle on eBay, but discovered to his dismay that Apple had "manufactured it with an illegal receiver" to aid and abet those pesky Mafiosi.

So he switched to an iPod nano. But he says that it too was bugged and that it played "'I'm about to kill him' in unison with a song."

An iPod mini was also in on the plot, he says, along with an iBook G4, PowerBook G4, and the sound systems in McKenna's Camry and Quattro, plus his mom's Honda Accord. There the Mafia - presumably in concert with Apple et al - modified the song Still Tippin by Mike Jones to insert the word "herpes" into the rap, thusly: "Tippin' on four fours, wrapped in four vogues, HERPES" (emphasis in the original).

Finally, McKenna switched to an iPod touch. But he says Apple was ahead of him, having programmed the device to "generate death threats stating 'I'm going to kill him'" when he listened to "Cafe Style 1" by the Toka Project.

Although McKenna complained directly to Apple about the bugged iPod touch, "Defendant APPLE, INC. proceeded to ignore Plaintiff's complaint."

We know how you feel, Mr. McKenna.

All through this tale of woe and intrigue, the STLPD and FBI have been of no help whatsoever, even though McKenna has filed a total of 53 complaints with them since September 2000.

So now he wants his day in court - plus $1 million from each of the nine defendants, $100 per day or $10,000 (whichever is greater) since the beginning of the ordeal, $550,000 per year in lost income, and damages to be determined by a jury.

It's not for us to say whether McKenna is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. In fact, some aspects of his tale, especially in the early days of the ordeal, have more than a wisp of plausibility.

Perhaps he had a tenuous hold on reality to begin with and his grasp slipped away under pressure from actual evildoers.

Besides, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that someone - perhaps even the Italian Mafia - isn't out to get you. ®

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