It seems to be a part of human nature that we want to take credit for things. It's never a good feeling when someone else gets credit for your work, and working in obscurity is satisfying to hardly anyone. Part of the reason why people do anything is to be praised for it. Wanting credit for an act has always been a part of our society. But now, we live in a time where we can claim credit at all times, often to our own demise.
These criminals, in most of the cases, thought that what they were doing was cool. They wanted to show their friends all the money they stole or the gas they siphoned out of a police cruiser. Social media allows us to brag about anything we want, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
People seem to think the internet is in a vacuum; that nothing they post will affect them in the real world. This is true in cases of trolling, saying inflammatory things, and making a video where you detail how and why you robbed a bank. Unfortunately for everyone in those categories, the internet exists and will exist forever, and people can use anything you say or do against you. These fifteen people learned this fact the hard way.
15 Bonnie And Clyde Of The Internet Age
Watching old bank robbery films really opens your eyes to just how easy it was back in the day. You could get some friends, rob a bank, and escape across state lines before anyone even catches up to you. It's a lot tougher now, and there are countless ways to get caught. In order to get away with robbing a bank, you have to run a tight ship; something that John Morgan and his girlfriend, Ashley Duboe, found out the hard way.
The pair robbed a local bank and escaped with the cash. It appears that they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that meddling need for internet attention. If no one knows that you robbed a bank, what's the point of robbing one in the first place?
Morgan and Duboe posed for pictures with their newly won cash on Facebook and were immediately arrested for the bank robbery. The happy couple now faces a substantial fine and some jail time, but it probably got a TON of likes.
14 Wanted Of The Week
While it might be scary for some, having a wanted picture of yourself is objectively cool. Ten years or so after the fact, showing some friends your wanted poster is a surefire way to score some cool points.
A Florida man named Mack Yearwood couldn't wait to brag about his wanted status and posted it as his profile picture the week the sheriff's department did. Yearwood was wanted in relation to a fight that happened over Labor Day weekend in 2016. The post generated some traffic, with the highlights being, "Nice mug shot" and "This isn't real, is it uncle Mack?"
Needless to say, the police tracked down Yearwood with relative ease and brought him into custody. If you're wondering why Mr. Yearwood would crave attention to this degree, look no further than his height measurement.
13 Guilty Conscious
This chilling story involves the shooting of a 13-year-old in Virginia. Lamonee Johnson-Chrisholm was hanging out with a friend outside a convenience store in November of 2012 when they were shot at. Johnson-Chrisholm died from his injuries but his friend made it out alive.
Police were pretty sure they knew who the shooter was, but they were aided by a Facebook message Johnson-Chrisholm received the day after the shooting. 15-year-old Kashawn Hines messaged Johnson-Chrisholm and said, "I ain't know I was going to kill you ... I swear to God I didn't mean to kill you ... What I'm trying to say is I'm sorry."
Police confronted Hines with this message who confessed to police but later recanted his confession, saying that he had only been kidding in that direct message. His mother suggested that another person may have used Hines' Facebook to take the pressure off of themselves. Hines was sentenced to 46 years in prison for the killing and a separate robbery earlier in the year.
12 Queen Of Tax Fraud
IRS tax fraud is lucrative, but it isn't the most glamorous of crimes. No one is writing movies about someone who claims her neighbor's kids on her tax returns every year, so credit is hard to come by for these things.
Rashia Wilson of Tampa, Florida wanted some attention for her prolific fraud so she posted about it everywhere she could. This included her own Facebook page with her real name and other personal details. She called herself "The Queen of IRS Tax Fraud," and she wasn't kidding. According to the authorities, Wilson had stolen as much as $20 million from the taxpayers. She wasn't hiding her wealth either as she bought a car worth $90,000 and threw her 1-year-old daughter a birthday party amounting to $30,000.
Eventually, police saw her social media brags and came knocking. Wilson pleaded guilty to tax fraud and got 21 years in prison.
11 F**k The Police, Right Guys?
If you've ever seen the show Trailer Park Boys, then this won't be the first person you've seen siphoning gas from a police car. It's not clear why Michael Baker thought this would be a good idea. Maybe he saw Ricky doing it and was inspired, or maybe he just really needed some gas.
All things considered, it makes for a great picture. Few things say "IDGAF" like flipping the bird while you're stealing gas out of a cop car. Baker posted the picture on Facebook, and while his friends ate it up, it lead to his arrest.
This is an instance where Baker probably would have gotten away with it, but what's the point if you don't have a sweet picture to commemorate the moment? It's a double-edged sword, but at least he has something to show to his kids.
10 Gambling Machine Heist
Robbing thousands of British pounds from local gambling machines could have been a crime Benjamin Robinson and Daniel Hutchinson would have gotten away with, had it not been for their selfless need to take responsibility for their actions. Of course, by that, I mean they posted selfies with their winning on Facebook and were tracked down by the police.
The duo had actually played the robbery much smarter than they acted after the fact. They wore masks at the time, but the photos that appeared on their Facebook accounts showed them flashing their score with nothing to hide their identities.
Police were initially suspicious of Hutchinson and Robinson when they stopped them with £3,000 in their car without a sufficient explanation. One look at their Facebook feed and police knew exactly where the cash had come from.
9 The Instagram Bandit
As previously stated, it's pretty difficult to get away with robbing a bank these days. There are cameras everywhere, and the slightest brag will usually get back to police before the culprit has a chance to spend the money. When you factor the obsessive use of social media into the equation, the chances of escaping with your cash is even less likely.
Dominyk Antonio Alfonseca found this out the hard way when he robbed a bank in Virginia Beach. The 23-year-old was so proud of his robbery that he took a picture of the note he handed to the teller. In addition to the photo, Alfonseca added a video of the teller reading the note and a subsequent video of the teller handing over stacks of cash.
The note seems pretty tongue in cheek for a bank robber, which is probably why Alfonseca posted it in the first place. But unfortunately for him, it lead to his arrest twenty minutes after the crime.
8 Deadly Hiking Traps
Utah is a beautiful place to go hiking, with some of the best parks in the country. It's also considered (by many outsiders) to be a relatively boring place to live. So when a couple of young men are caught setting up deadly traps along hiking paths, it's not a good look for the activities of the state.
Benjamin Rutkowski and Kai Christensen apparently had nothing better to do than to make crudely spiked traps attached to tripwires along hiking trails. The traps were made of a jumble of sharpened sticks and a rock tied together, meant to bash a hiker in the head, with another trap meant to trip hikers and have them fall on a pile of spikes. Officials said that if anyone had fell victim to the traps, it's likely that they would have been deadly.
The pair were caught when they posted pictures of their hiking escapades on Facebook.
7 Chick Bank Robber
We've extensively covered the fact that robbing a bank is a bad idea and that the idea is only made worse when you post about it on social media. Well, it should come as no surprise that 19-year-old Nebraskan Hannah Sabata went straight to YouTube to upload a video after her $6,000 local bank heist.
Apparently, Sabata was bragging all over town about her escapades, and police only needed the video as supporting evidence. The video was entitled "Chick Bank Robber," and showed Sabata flashing the cash and bragging about how she was rich and could pay off her student loans and go on a shopping spree (just a reminder, she only stole $6,000).
She broke down the robbery from start to finish in her video, which shows her dedication to her confession. Sabata was charged with the robbery, but hopefully has a promising career ahead of her as a crime YouTuber.
6 'Sup Guys? I Sell Dr*gs For A Living
Back in the days of MySpace, people were still getting the hang of the social media game. This was around the Wild West times on the internet, and people were still navigating what was and wasn't incriminating.
Unfortunately for Tyrell Blue, he was one of those who had to learn the hard way. Blue posted a picture on MySpace holding a bundle of cash. He claimed that he was making $250,000 a year as a small business owner (aka drug dealer), and police used this photo to charge him with multiple counts of narcotics distribution.
Police were getting hip to the social media bragging at this time, and egotistical criminals were dropping like flies. Of course, criminals have learned their lesson and would never brag about such crimes nowadays.
5 Catch Me If You Can
This story is the criminal equivalent to a UFC fighter getting knocked out in the middle of a taunt. Wanda Podgurski of California did a little slippin' Jimmy action to get a settlement from the insurance company. She took the near $750,000 she got and traveled the world–something that raises red flags to the people who investigate such situations–while she was supposed to be on bed rest.
The authorities caught on to her scam, and Podgurski was arrested. She was let out on bail and skipped town, heading for Mexico. Police didn't have any leads as to where Podgurski had gone; that was until she tweeted at them, "Catch me if you can."
As you may well know, you can be tracked by your internet activity, and police nabbed Podgurski in Mexico. She was brought back to the states to serve out her 20-year sentence.
4 Telling On Yourself
All of these crimes showcase someone who was dumb or guilty enough to out themselves of social media about their crime, but few told on themselves with such vigor as Rodney Knight, Jr.
19-year-old Knight robbed the home of Washington Post writer Marc Fisher. Knight stole Fisher's son's jacket and a stack of cash that he found. To celebrate his achievements, he opened the younger Fisher's laptop and snapped a picture of himself in the coat, holding the cash he made away with. He decided he liked the picture, so he logged into Fisher's son's Facebook account and posted the picture.
As we all know, teenagers are the undisputed kings and queens of social media. Within minutes, the picture was circulating throughout the social network, and Knight was arrested before he was able to get proper use out of that dope jacket.
3 Food Pictures
Posting a picture of food on your Instagram page is bordering on a crime already. Nobody wants to see your fancy dinner; well, except maybe for the police who are tracking you down and looking for your identity.
Troy Maye was an identity thief who stole people's information and sold it to the black market. The IRS was trying to track him down and even set up a meet with an informant. The informant wasn't able to get any usable information on their first visit, so they set up a second meet at a steakhouse.
This time, Maye brought a thumb drive that included some stolen identities. From here, the IRS was able to pull Maye's name from the metadata and headed over to his social media pages to confirm his identity. Maye made it easy for the IRS to confirm his identity, as they saw a photo on his Instagram page from the day at the steakhouse. The picture of his meal was complete with a caption of the steakhouse on the date he met the informant.
2 Double Jeopardy
If you ever want to brag about getting away with murder, make sure you actually got away with murder first.
Ronald Herron learned this when he tweeted about "beating a body" (getting away with murder) after two witnesses refused to testify against him. You can't blame the witnesses, as Herron was a cold-blooded killer who killed at least two other people after he beat this murder rap.
Herron was so confident that he posted multiple YouTube videos claiming to be the leader of a "murder team." Obviously, police took notice and eventually arrested him for three murders. Herron was convicted with the help of his social media bragging and now faces the death penalty for the killing of at least three individuals.
1 The Periscope Drunk Driver
Live streaming has been hot in the internet streets for the past few years, with streamers getting full-time payments for their content and people like DJ Khaled live-streaming his wife's birth. One of the more viral social media confessions took place in October of 2015, when Whitney Beall, 23, live-streamed herself while she was drunk-driving.
Beall received repeated texts and messages from those viewing her stream, telling her to pull over and call a cab before she hurts someone. Instead, Beall just continued to tell the audience how drunk she was, even saying she hoped she didn't get a DUI before hitting a sign in the median, giving her a flat tire.
Police were alerted of the situation and tracked her location via the Periscope app. Pretty soon, the live stream of a drunk driver turned into a live stream of an arrest.