You have to wonder what Rossi Lorathio “Polo” Adams was thinking. Maybe it was the possibility of fame and fortune as his web presence grew. Maybe it was pure greed or anger at the obstacle he perceived was in the way of him fully pursuing his dreams. But now, he can only think that he’s a cautionary tale of clout chasing gone wrong.
The 26-year-old is facing 20 years because he tried to steal a domain name to support what was basically the social media generation’s version of the once popular “Girls Gone Wild” series. A former student at Iowa State University, Adams started a business called State Snapss and built it to almost a million followers.
He sought the domain name doitforstate.com to promote his increasingly successful business, but someone else owned it. So Adams decided to convince the owner to give it to him. but not through the legal process. He literally tried to force the owner of a domain he wanted to surrender it at gunpoint.
The company’s claim to fame was posting risqué images of wild-partying college students on its Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat feeds. Iowa State was not pleased, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Iowa, but Adams continued posting, often using the hashtag #DoItForState.
According to court records, Adams had more than one million followers on his social channels at the height of State Snaps’ success. Though he already owned the DoIt4State.com domain, he wanted to buy DoItForState.com as well. The problem? The URL wasn’t for sale. When the Cedar Rapids-based owner of the domain refused to sell it, Adams hatched a violent plan to steal it instead, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.
In June 2017, Adams reportedly asked his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr., to break into the home of the domain-owner — identified only as “E.D.” in court filings — and try to steal the domain at gunpoint. Adams had found the owner’s address through GoDaddy registration records, the Washington Post reports.
Hopkins and Adams broke into E.D.’s home, hoping to convince him to sign paperwork to sign over the domain, People.com reports. Despite being pistol-whipped and shot, E.D. managed to grab the gun and shoot Hopkins multiple times instead. Hopkins survived and has been sentenced to 20 years. Adams was convicted on conspiracy charges and awaits his sentence, which could be up to 20 years along with a 250K fine.
PHOTO: Linn County Correctional Center
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