Into the Wild Questions and Answers
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Wayne Westerberg

In Into the Wild, what did Chris's boss at the wheat fields get arrested for?

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Wayne Westerberg is a grain elevator operator who picks up the broke and hungry hitchhiker Chris McCandless (going by the name "Alex" at the time) on the drive to Carthage, South Dakota. After three days of working on Westerberg's crew, Wayne offers Chris a job if he ever needs one in the future. Chris eventually returns to Carthage and forges a family-like bond with Wayne, but only two weeks after he has begun this work, Wayne is arrested for pirating satellite television service through the construction of black boxes, a fate which is described in the book as follows:

Westerberg had been drawn into a scheme to build and sell "black boxes," which illegally unscramble satellite-television transmissions, allowing people to watch encrypted cable programming without paying for it. The FBI caught wind of this, set up a sting, and arrested Westerberg. Contrite, he copped a plea to a single felony count and on October 10, 1990, some two weeks after McCandless arrived in Carthage, began serving a four-month sentence in Sioux Falls. 

Without steady work to keep him in one place, Chris decided to go back on the road. However, before leaving Carthage, he gave Wayne his 1942 edition of Tolstoy's War and Peace with an inscription that read, "Transferred to Wayne Westerberg from Alexander. October, 1990. Listen to Pierre." Chris continued to periodically keep in touch with Wayne, and Wayne was the recipient of the final postcard Chris sent before his death.

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Chris McCandless's boss at this point in the text was Wayne Westerberg.  Westerberg...

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