We might as well start with the “usual suspect,” Facebook:
Jonathan Parker, a West Virginia teenager, broke into a home and stole two diamond rings; then as long as he was there, he decided to use the homeowner’s laptop to check his Facebook account. And then left, leaving his Facebook page open.
(And no, I don’t know why he didn’t just steal the laptop)
And then in Columbia, two men were web browsing at an Internet café before deciding to rob the place at gunpoint and, you guessed it, one of them forgot to log out of his Facebook account.
Twitter was Mahogany Mason-Kelly’s downfall: ignoring an outstanding warrant for unpaid traffic tickets in Pearland, Texas (she owed $1877) and charges that she impersonated her sister at a traffic stop, the 20-year-old college student tweeted “I still gotta warrant in pearland…those pigs will NEVER catch me!!!…NEVER!!!”
Except that the Pearland Police Department monitors Twitter for “Pearland,” and Mason-Kelly was tracked down and arrested.
Not all stupid criminals use social media to trip themselves up, of course: Shane Jackson, of Washington state, was in the middle of robbing a house when the home owner, a former Marine, confronted him, gun in hand, and ordered him to leave.
(At which point Jackson should have considered himself lucky indeed)
But he thought he’d left behind some personal items that could have been used to identify himself, so he used a cellphone he’d stolen from the house to call the homeowner’s brother, and offered to trade the items he’d stolen for his own personal items (which apparently weren’t even there).
Jackson was a gracious loser, at least: as he was being arrested, he apologized to the homeowners for robbing them.
© 2012 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.