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MANKATO, MN, June 10, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A Mankato woman has sued AT&T, alleging that the Mankato store manager stole information and personal photos from the phone she turned in, and then used the photos to create a profile with her photos on the dating app Bumble, to use for his own sexual purposes.
Mankato resident Lauren Strahan had brought her phone into the AT&T store located at 511 Holly Lane in Mankato in March of 2020 in order to upgrade her phone to a new phone. Strahan turned in her old phone to the store manager Joshua Boone to allow the information to load from the old phone to her new phone.
Months later, one of Strahan's friends noticed that on the dating app, Bumble, there was an account displaying private photos that looked like Strahan. After looking at the photos, Strahan confirmed the photos were in fact photos of her somehow taken from her phone. Strahan had not made the Bumble account herself, and did not know how someone obtained the photos and made the Bumble site.
Strahan and her friend began messaging the fake Bumble profile to arrange a time and place to meet with the person running the account. When Strahan arrived at the agreed upon meeting place, she immediately recognized the person as Joshua Boone, the store manager who had taken her phone in at AT&T.
Strahan contacted law enforcement, who began an investigation. After serving a warrant on Joshua Boone's home, the police found multiple cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices in his home. Boone was charged with theft, possession of stolen property, stalking, and use of others' personal information without consent.
Strahan has sued Boone and AT&T for negligence, theft, fraud, consumer fraud, and invasion of privacy, among other claims. Attorney Randall Knutson of the Knutson + Casey law firm in Mankato represents Strahan. Knutson says, "This case is a reminder that cases of sexual exploitation and invasion of privacy are not a new occurrence, and can even involve phone service providers like AT&T. It is critically important for all of us to make sure that our private and confidential information is not stolen from us by anyone, especially when we are turning in our old phones. This case involves evidence that shows little oversight by AT&T for their store manager, by the number of phones and devices found by the police when they searched the manager's home. It goes to show that phone providers need to do a better job of protecting our private information, and need to spend the time and money to do that."
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