Pranksters seize Taco Bell drive-through frequency

Thursday, February 12, 2009 | 12:57 p.m. CST

SEDALIA — Sedalia police are looking for pranksters who hijacked a Taco Bell's drive-through radio signal and used it to shout vulgarities to customers.

The suspects posed as Taco Bell employees in the Tuesday afternoon episode, which lasted a few minutes. Police said even though the intruders meant it as a joke, they could face charges. Taco Bell employees said they would press charges if the pranksters are caught.

Sgt. Matt Wirt said the suspects "would have to be in relatively close proximity to" the business to interfere with the drive-through frequency.


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Cullen Breedlove February 12, 2009 | 3:58 p.m.

Well you can cross George Carlin off your list of suspects. He doesn't get around much anymore.

(Report Comment)
Matt Y February 12, 2009 | 6:56 p.m.

This prank is an oldie but a goodie. I'm glad to see it still gets around.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 12, 2009 | 7:19 p.m.

This same thing happened at the Osage Beach WalMart when a ex disgruntled employee stole one of the hand held radios and would hide out nearby and heckle the Customer Service Managers over the air.

It was quite funny at times and that store had to change all of it's radio's frequencies but hacking into the actual Taco Bell frequency is quite classic although instead of insults they could have been more creative.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 12, 2009 | 8:21 p.m.

Why doesn't Taco Bell just hardwire it's customer/drivethru intercoms like they used to? No more radio, no more pranks or interference.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 12, 2009 | 8:56 p.m.

Mark Foecking yes but they use the "hands free sets" so they can move around the entire store and multi task as needed.

That is why it is called "fast food". The hands free sets are a must in those businesses.

I agree though tighter frequency controls might be needed but somebody who knows how to scan and hack a frequency it is not going to matter anyway.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 13, 2009 | 8:24 a.m.

They don't need to be - McDonalds got along just fine for years without the headsets. However:

Many cordless phones (and other methods of communication) use a technology called spread spectrum which breaks a communication into several pieces, either over time or frequency. It's a very secure method of radio communication.

I can pick up communications from any number of fast food joints and stores on my VHF/UHF ham radio, and if I wanted I could transmit to them also. With spread spectrum, I couldn't - in fact I wouldn't even know they were there.


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