OAKLAND, Calif. -- John Draper, dubbed 'Capt. Crunch' for using toy whistles from cereal boxes to make long-distance phone calls without paying, faces trial on charges of forging tickets to commuter trains.
A March 4 trial date was set after police found $2,500 worth of forged tickets to trains of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, which connect San Francisco and the East Bay.
A BART spokesman said Draper apparently figured out how to duplicate the electronic sensing strip on BART tickets, which are fed into turnstiles by train riders.
Draper first used a toy whistle he found in a Cap'n Crunch cereal box in the late 1960s to duplicate the tone needed to gain access to AT&T's worldwide long distance system. By blowing the whistle into the phone, it was possible to make toll-free calls anywhere in the world.
The manufacturer of the cereal changed the tone of its whistle but Draper remained 'Capt. Crunch' to a host of followers around the nation who temporarily benefited from his discovery.
BART police said they had no way of knowing how many of the forged tickets were in circulation.