Ashton Lundeby is “Tyrone” –

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– a celebrity in a cyber-subculture devoted to making “prank phone calls for a live internet audience,” reports Wired news.

According to Jason Bennett, a “former fan” of Ashton’s who turned him in to the authorities, the 16-year-old would accept money from youngsters eager to get out of school: He would allegedly charge a fee to call in a bomb threat that would shutter the school.

Annette Lundeby, Ashton’s mom, admits that she had heard and seen some of his pranks, but still insists that Ashton is innocent of the charges involving a bomb threat against Purdue University on February 15.

On March 5, Bennett recorded a series of bomb threats made by “Tyrone” against five schools across the nation; he contacted authorities, who informed the schools that the threats were bogus. Shortly thereafter the FBI paid a visit to the Lundeby home and arrested Ashton.

When I spoke with Annette Lundeby yesterday, she admitted to me that Ashton had been involved in various “pranks” but maintained that he was not responsible for the bomb threats of February 15 and March 5. She also claimed that the FBI confiscated all of the computer gear in their home except for her son’s wireless router and a message on the answering machine that contained exculpatory evidence.

Mrs. Lundeby is frantically concerned about her son and is convinced that the Feds have over-reached in this case. The former is understandable, and the latter may still be the case. She also continues to insist that Ashton is the victim of identity theft, which could be true, but appears quite doubtful now.

5:55 pm on May 7, 2009