As it turns out, Smith is a Level One Sex Offender, but whether he in fact committed a crime by not buying a single tall latte before accessing the Internet, well that remains to be seen. The sheriff's office and prosecutors are now reviewing the case.
While his example is an extreme one, someone who clearly stepped over the line of using a service for what it was intended and theft, there's still an underlying issue here of responsibility. Many mobile devices, including laptops and PDAs, will automatically connect themselves to any access point they can when they come within range. While an intelligent wireless operator knows how to defend against rogue connections and monitor them, the bulk of home users buying a wireless router do not, and as a result we have hundreds of thousands of open hot spots. This makes situations like the one above quite common. Rather than arresting all the war drivers, a better way to accomplish this would be for people to take the time to learn a bit about wireless before employing it, or for the manufacturers of home devices to spend more time in creating automated protection systems.