How to get a day off work with Facebook

The first Finally Friday post of 2012 returns to a favourite theme – how criminals use social media to brag about their offending and get themselves caught, in the most comical or ridiculous ways.

The most straightforward way to get caught is to commit a crime and then post a photo of yourself on Facebook brandishing your ill-gotten gains, as many rioters did in the UK this summer.

This is now so commonplace that the stories have become mainstream fodder on online TV shows based on the “You’ve been Framed” format. This is a typical one from @TheYoungTurks featuring an 18 year old man from Pittsburgh who robbed stores in a local market.

It’s interesting that these arrests are becoming more rather than less commonplace, despite extensive media coverage in both the US and the UK. It’s unlikely that six 12 and 13 year old girls from Carson, Nevada heard about the four year prison sentences passed on the two British young men for inciting riots on Facebook (despite the fact that the local riots they were encouraging never took place).

They certainly didn’t think twice about inviting their Facebook friends to participate in “Attack a Teacher Day” at two local middle schools. When they were arrested, they complained that they were only joking. But since their prank happened the same day that an Assistant Head Teacher was shot dead by a 17 year old suspended student in Omaha, Nebraska, you can see why the police were taking no chances.

You can read the full story here.

Some criminals go beyond bragging about their crimes and dare the police to catch them by taunting on social media.

The New York domestic violence perpetrator who skipped bail challenged police to “catch me if you can, I’m in Brooklyn”. A couple of days later, they did just that, interrupting him on his computer, logged into Facebook. Read the full story.

A British escaped prisoner enjoyed some notoriety for four months in 2009 when he repeatedly taunted police by posting to his Facebook page resulting in numerous appearances in the Daily Mail. This is the photo he posted to celebrate Christmas:

He was arrested two weeks later.

But I’d like to finish with the story of a Buckingham Palace Guard who obviously wanted the day off for last Spring’s Royal Wedding. Have a guess at his strategy? Call in sick at the last minute? Claim he had to attend a family funeral? No such subterfuge. He simply posted on his Facebook page about Kate Middleton:

“Hur and william drove past me on friday n all a got was a sh***y wave while she looked the opposite way from me, stupid stuck up cow am I not good enough for them! posh bitch am totally with u on this 1 who reely gives a f about hur,” 

Picture and futher details from here.

Happy New Year

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