5 dumbest criminals busted via Facebook
Updated On: Apr 18 2012 02:00:00 AM EDT
In the past few years, Americans have become social media junkies.
Checking status updates, tagging pictures and tweeting are all second nature for most of us by this point. Cellphones have become a permanent extension of the arm, as people wander around checking Facebook and Twitter constantly.
The popular social media sites keep friends connected, but some people aren't too careful about what they post. We're not talking about friends that "overshare," like the friend that brags about their kid being potty-trained; we're talking about really dumb posts.
For example, some Facebook addicts have actually posted pictures of themselves committing crimes or fibbed on themselves in other ways. To salute this not-so-intelligent use of social media, let's take a look at the five dumbest criminals caught through Facebook.
Pennsylvania teen logs into Facebook while stealing
Police say a Pennsylvania teen broke into a Martinsburg, W.Va., home in August 2009 and took two diamond rings from his neighbor.
While looking around the home for more loot, Jonathan Parker spotted a laptop. He didn't steal it; instead, he sat down and checked his Facebook account, according to authorities. Apparently it was more important to check up on his friends than run away with the pricey jewelry. Once Parker was caught up on all the happenings, he left with the rings in hand, but he forgot one thing. He didn't log out of his Facebook account. Whoops.
When the homeowner returned from work, there were signs of a burglary. Minutes later, the homeowner saw Parker's Facebook account still open on the laptop. Needless to say, it didn't take police long to track down the tech-savvy teen.
Parker pleaded not guilty, but was convicted nonetheless.
Stealing from a judge, posting proof on Facebook
Police in South Florida called a 21-year-old man "an idiot" after he allegedly swiped a judge's nameplate, took a picture holding the sign and let his girlfriend post the picture on Facebook.
Ironically, Steven Mulhall appeared before the judge for petty theft. After his February 2012 appearance, Mulhall apparently decided to lift the nameplate outside the judge's door, authorities said. His girlfriend snapped a picture, posted it Facebook and now Mulhall is facing a felony charge.
"The nameplate is like only $40, not that big of a crime, but what an idiot. He puts it on Facebook," Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti told the Palm Beach Post.
"Here he is flaunting it on Facebook. He violated the terms of his parole by stealing, from a judge he appeared before, no less. He's got multiple convictions for petty theft, so now this is a felony."
A robber 'friends' his victims
When a Massachusetts man filled his tank with gas and came inside to pay in November 2010, the station manger didn't think anything of it, that is, until he pulled the 27-inch flat screen TV off a bathroom wall and sneaked away with it.
Nicole Telles, the manger at Prestige Car Wash and Gas Station, decided to track the guy down.
With the name from his credit card receipt and a good picture of the crook on surveillance video, Telles found the alleged TV-swiper on Facebook. For kicks she sent him a friend request, and he accepted it. After looking through Facebook pictures and comparing them to the surveillance pictures, Telles knew she had the right guy.
Telles' boss even sent the suspect a message, telling him to return the television and they wouldn't call police. In the end, the police were contacted and the robbery suspect was arrested.
Constant Facebook updates make for an easy arrest
Maxi Sopo led an interesting life; so much so, he felt the need to update his Facebook page all the time. While this is an annoying trait in many people, it rarely lands you in jail, unless you're Maxine Sopo.
According to police, Sopo swindled $200,000 from Seattle banks and then fled to Mexico. The 26-year-old Cameroon native was hopping from beach to beach and bar to bar and made sure to post his every move on Facebook.
Little did Sopo know, during his clubbing and drinking he accepted a friend request from a former Justice Department official. By watching Sopo's constant party updates on Facebook and turning to the former fed for help, police had no trouble catching up to Sopo in September 2009 and tossing him in jail.
Sopo eventually pleaded guilty to four counts of bank fraud and was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
Criminal steals laptop, uses it to post pictures of crime
Police busted a teen in Washington, D.C., after he bragged about his crime on the victim's Facebook page. Rodney Knight Jr., 19, broke into the home of a Washington Post reporter in December 2010 and took cash, a winter coat and a laptop that belonged to the reporter's son.
While still at the home, Knight decided to post a picture of himself wearing the coat and holding up the cash on Facebook. Knight didn't post the picture to his Facebook page; instead, he thought it would be best to insult the family he stole from and boldly posted the picture on the son's Facebook page.
While investigating the crime, District of Columbia police officer Kyle Roe admitted: "I've seen a lot, but this is the most stupid criminal I've ever seen."
Knight was eventually arrested in a Washington, D.C., alley and found to be carrying a handgun. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to a burglary charge and another of carrying a pistol without a license and was sentenced to 44 months in prison.
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