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Heroes of the Storm player arrested for death threats against Blizzard

28-year-old Stephen Cebula was arrested last week after sending threatening messages to Blizzard Entertainment and players of its games, most notably Heroes of the Storm

28-year-old Stephen Cebula was arrested last week after sending threatening messages to Blizzard Entertainment and players of its games, most notably Heroes of the Storm

He's now facing federal charges of making credible threats to injure Blizzard employees, with a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

The fact that federal investigators found Cebula's online threats against real people over a video game credible enough to take him into custody lends further weight to longstanding calls to curb death threats and other forms of online toxicty in the game industry.

According to court documents obtained by Polygon, Cebula -- a native of Sacramento, California -- was reported to Blizzard by Heroes of the Storm players for sending them disturbing threats via in-game chat.

Blizzard cut his chat privileges, and when he then started sending threatening messages to the studio itself via Facebook ("keep silencing me in Heroes of the Storm and I may or may not pay you a visit with an AK47 amongst some other 'fun' tools" is one example cited) the studio provided evidence to the FBI, who investigated and arrested Cebula.

He's currently being held without bail due to (among other things) "significant" mental health issues, and he's slated to have his day in court next Tuesday.

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