Social media is a resourceful tool when sharing news with friends and family, without spending a great deal of time having to call or write to them individually. It’s also convenient when trying to start a business, keeping up with current events, and checking the weather. A lot of people often use it for playing games or trailing celebrities. There are; however, those who are addicted to sites and will continually use them, no matter what the consequences. There are many police departments that now have their Facebook profiles, and use the social media giant to try and catch criminals that otherwise would be difficult to pursue. For those who are addicted to Facebook and are committing crimes, they make it easy for authorities to catch them, especially if they are posting selfies or bragging about their crimes online.
10. Maxi Sopo, Bank Fraud Fugitive
Maxi Sopo was a fugitive that was wanted for bank fraud charges. Apparently, he was selling roses and that just wasn’t enough for him. It is alleged that Maxi was the “mastermind” behind a conspiracy for bank fraud and fled the country before he could be indicted. According to reports, Maxi had gotten others to misrepresent how much money they made in order to obtain car loans, and then used the money for themselves. He left the United States and went to Mexico, but did not stay under the radar. Maxi started posting pictures on Facebook, including expensive cars and fancy alcoholic beverages. He added several people on the social network; but he didn’t expect one of those acquaintances to be a friend of a member from the United State Justice Department. The acquaintance had met Maxi in a nightclub briefly, but was unaware of his fugitive status and immediately turned over the information to the police department. Maxi was caught shortly after.
9. Craig “Lazie” Lynch
Convicted of burglary, felon Craig Lynch was in a minimum security prison near London, when he grew tired of being in jail and escaped. After fleeing Hollesley Bay Prison in Suffolk, Craig taunted the police by posting on his Facebook page several comments bragging about how they couldn’t find him, what he had for dinner on several occasions, and that he was free. He had over 40,000 people following his posts, and many were actually cheering him on; even creating a YouTube song for him. One of the status updates that Craig had posted was that he was taking his “princess” to the mall, even describing what they would be carrying. He was on the run for four months, enjoying Christmas and a bit of “family time,” before turning himself in. Initially, Craig was serving a seven year sentence, but more time was added to that punishment due to his antics outside of the prison.
8. Pasquale Manfredi, aka “Scarface”
The alleged mafia leader, Pasquale Manfredi was nicknamed Scarface, and was wanted for the murder of a gang member. Pasquale had opened a Facebook account, and even had a picture of Scarface (from the movie of the same name), as his profile picture. He could not avoid the social network, and was constantly posting information that eventually led to his whereabouts. Pasquale apparently did not have any type of blockers on his computer (to hide his location), so it was fairly easy for the police to locate him in Italy, where he was staying at an apartment. It is said that he was using “code” to speak to other members of the mafia while on Facebook, and investigators are continuing to pursue all 200 of Pasquale’s “friends” on the site, to see if any others were involved in criminal activity.
7. Victor Burgos, “Catch Me If You Can”
Being wanted for domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend (along with harassing her, as well) in Utica, New York, Victor Burgos thought it would be a great idea if he ran away, instead of staying and facing the judge (or his ex). While on the run, Victor just had to get on Facebook to make a status update. In his update, he posted the words, “Catch me if you can! I’m in Brooklyn.” This probably wasn’t too smart, considering he was actually in Brooklyn. So the police went where Victor said he was; and that’s where they apprehended him.
6. Chris Crego, Displayed His Own Wanted Poster as His Profile Picture
While in New York (or anywhere, really), it is a bad idea to get into a bar fight. It’s even more of a bad idea to flee the state before your court date, and then make several posts on your Facebook page of your whereabouts. Actually, for police, it is a fantastic idea to make posts of your position; it makes their job so much easier to locate you. Apparently, Chris Crego did not consider that those ideas were significantly damaging, and this is exactly what he did. Chris even went as far as setting the “Most Wanted” poster of himself as his profile picture at one time, making it that much simpler for police to find him. He stated his work hours, place of employment and the town in which he was living. At least the police department kept a good sense of humor about the entire event by posting on Craig’s wall once they found him. One of the officers had written, “It was due to your diligence in keeping us informed that now you are under arrest.”
5. Scott Roby, Drinking and Facebooking
For unknown reasons, Scott Roby was under probation in Kentucky, and was required (by law) that he abstain from alcohol for the entire time he was under the test. Scott might have been drunk when he accepted a friend request on Facebook from his probation officer, because shortly afterwards, he posted a picture of himself drinking. He even invited others on his page to do the same. Scott was arrested and his probation was revoked after these posts were seen, along with refusing to report to his officer, and Scott didn’t bother to let him know that he had moved (which is also a requirement of probation).
4. Jonathan Parker, Left His Facebook Account Open on Victim’s Computer
A woman in Pennsylvania had her house broken into and two diamond rings, each worth over $3500 were stolen, when she noticed that the burglar had checked his Facebook page while he was robbing her. How did she know this? He had left her computer on, and the page was still open when he left. Jonathan Parker was a 19 year old that lived in the same neighborhood as the victim, and had asked his roommate the night before if he wanted to break into a house with him the next day. Leaving his Facebook thumbprint in the victim’s house, along with asking the roommate about the break-in, was enough to get Jonathan arrested.
3. Michael Baker, Gas Thief
Michael Baker thought it would be funny to siphon gas from a police cruiser and have a picture taken of the crime. He held up his middle finger (apparently meant towards the Jenkins Police Department, from whom he was stealing fuel), and his girlfriend decided the picture would be a great addition to Facebook. Apparently, the police didn’t find the situation too humorous and arrested Michael shortly after the photograph surfaced.
2. Roger Ireland, Following The Baltimore P.D. While Wanted For Crimes
In Baltimore, the police department has a Facebook account, and they retain a #WantedWednesdays page, where they post known criminals on the loose. Roger Ireland had an outstanding warrant, and didn’t think that he could get caught. His picture was shown on the page held by the police department, and several people that knew him tagged Roger’s family members in the picture. This helped out the department; especially when Roger, himself, made a comment underneath the photo, ending, “y’all will never catch me.” He was arrested the next day by the Baltimore P.D., making the officers fairly happy. The Police Chief of Anne Arundel County, Kevin Davis stated, “We encourage anyone with outstanding warrants to continue following us on Facebook.”
1. Rodney Knight, Took a Selfie While Burglarizing Writer’s Home
Mark Fisher, a writer for the Washington Post, had his home broken into back in December, 2010. Rodney Knight took Mark’s teenage son’s laptop, savings bond, a winter coat, some cash and savings bonds. Before Rodney left the house, he took a selfie using the teen’s webcam on his laptop, wearing the coat and showing the cash he was stealing. He then posted the picture to the boy’s Facebook page, which was on the computer. The journalist was told by the investigators on the scene that burglaries weren’t a top priority and that most likely the thief would not be caught. The picture, of course, went viral after Mark had written a column about the incident and eventually, Rodney was caught. It took five months in order for the homeowner to get justice; thanks to Facebook and the people who just would not give up pursuing the case.