A Y2K computer bug made for a regional police blotter filled this week with offences seemingly committed by senior citizens on a crime binge.
In the days after the turn of the century, the daily crime sheet of the York Regional Police north of Toronto featured:
An 80-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting and forcibly confining an 83-year-old woman just after midnight on Jan. 1.
A 69-year-old man charged with assault causing bodily harm and threatening death.
Two missing "youths" listed as being 83 and 84 years old.
The Y2K computer glitch caused police software to read 2000 as 1900 and the suspects' years of birth as their ages.
The result was teenagers' suddenly being transformed, at least on paper, into senior citizens.
Ken Loney, the computer-services manager for the police department, confirmed the glitch was Y2K-related and said it was caught internally and fixed Monday morning.
He said the Y2K miscalculation did not affect police operations.
But it did not escape a crime reporter who pointed it out to chuckling police officers on duty Monday.
"It's a routine thing -- you look through the police blotter when you get to work and see what's up," said Rick Vanderlinde of the Newmarket, Ont.-based Era Banner, which is published three times a week.
"I saw the one about the 80-year-old sexually assaulting and forcibly confining an 83-year-old woman and I thought, wow, that's quite a story."
He read on, and there seemed to be a genuine seniors crime spree shaping up.
"I'm thinking, what's going on here? The seniors were saying: 'When I get to the millennium, I'm really going to let loose.'? "
But when he reached the item about the 83- and 84-year-old missing youths, he knew something had gone wrong.
He was right.
A few days later, the missing youths, actually aged 15 and 16, made an appearance at the Newmarket police station, providing visible proof that they were many decades away from cashing their pension cheques.