PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Kalama city councilor was arrested and booked in the Cowlitz County Jail Tuesday after investigators say he guessed the password of another city council member and accessed that councilor’s emails.
According to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, City Councilor Matthew Merz, 42, initially went to the sheriff’s office in January to report what he believed to be official misconduct by the Kalama mayor, Kalama police chief, and a fellow city council member.
In the process of making the report, Merz admitted he unlawfully accessed the email account of another city council member by “guessing” his account password. Merz said he used the account to print off emails the councilor sent to the police chief and Kalama citizens. Merz provided copies of the emails to the sheriff’s office.
Investigators determined the allegations Merz made, if proven, did not constitute criminal violations.
However, by illegally accessing his fellow councilor’s email account without permission, the sheriff’s office said Merz committed first-degree computer trespass, a Class C felony. He also committed electronic data theft and spoofing, investigators said.
Merz was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail on four counts of computer trespass, one count of electronic data theft and one count of spoofing.