In the course of researching posts for this Blog, I have come across many bizarre stories about how offenders have incriminated themselves by the innovative, accidental or imbecilic use of social media. Occasionally, police, probation or prison officers have also dropped online clangers. These don’t always make it into the posts themselves, but it’s a shame not to share them.
So, I’ve started a new series dedicated to the sort of strange but true stories that make the pages of Private Eye or are featured on any show that Harry Hill presents. They will appear every Friday and seek to inject some humour into the end of your working week.
This week we have two rather different stories. First, the everyday story of a bike theft, with a twist.
The Wheels of Justice
A young woman in Boulder, Colorado used her online knowledge to reclaim her stolen property. She came out of a local bar to find that the expensive road bike she had carefully locked up had been stolen. After the initial period of shock and anger, she decided to take a look on Craigslist to see if the thief was stupid enough to advertise it for sale online. He was. She soon found a listing for her bike with an accompanying photo which allowed her to make a positive ID. She contacted the seller direct, saying she was interested in buying back the bike. When she got to the thief’s home, she asked for a test ride and rode off on her own bike. She then immediately called the police and the offender duly confessed. Full details here.
Secondly, the couple who boasted about their bank robbery on Facebook.
Bonnie and Clyde II
A teenage couple thought it would be easy to rob the bank where one of them worked as a cashier. They were right. With the help of another cashier and her older brother, they got away with $62,000 in Houston, Texas – making the robbery look like a ‘classic’ bank job with armed robbers wearing masks. They did a decent job with the cashiers putting tracking devices in the money bags but warning their accomplices to ditch them ASAP.
Where they went wrong was in not being able to keep their satisfaction at a job well done offline. The couple made a series of posts on their Facebook pages claiming that they were rich and boasting of brushing their teeth (and polishing their nether parts) with $50 bills. Once the boyfriend updated his profile to list his employment as: “Make money both ways, Dirty and Clean!!”, the game was quickly up. They were arrested within a week after a Facebook friend reported them to Crime Stoppers.
I wrote recently about a Philadelphia woman who posted an offer of $1,000 for anyone who would kill the father of her child on her Facebook page. She soon had an offer from a local 18 year old man. A gun was found at the would-be killer’s home and both were taken into custody. You would think that was bizarre enough, but read on.
It appears that she may have been able to access a mobile phone in prison, because two months later – while both she and the would-be murderer were still on remand – the intended victim was shot dead in the street. Read the full story here.
Enjoy your weekend.