Social media has been a boon to law enforcement, as an Ohio couple recently found out the hard way. John Morgan and Ashley Duboe are sitting in jail on $250,000 bail after the daft duo posted various photos on FaceBook of themselves playing with wads of cash allegedly stolen in a recent bank robbery. To Morgan's credit, he did use make-up to conceal the words "Loyalty's Thin" and "Betrayal's Thick," tattooed on his cheeks, but the FaceBook gaffe proved fatal.
The Clinton County Department of Probation and Parole in Central Pennsylvania has implemented a standard probation condition requiring all defendants under supervision to "friend" the department's Facebook page and allow full access to all the defendant's content. Police, probation officers and parole agents have been using social media to detect evidence of crime and technical violations of probation and parole since the technology first emerged. What is unique about the Clinton County approach is that it is open and honest. Law enforcement normally checks the social media content of suspects, defendants and probationers secretly, but Clinton County Probation is basically saying, "we are going to be watching you, so don't post anything incriminating"
Residential Burglary charges were filed last week against a Minnesota man. This would hardly be worthy of international attention, but for the way in which the burglar was caught. Twenty-Six year old Nicholas Wig broke into a home and used the victim's computer to log into his own FaceBook account! Not only was Wig kind enough to not steal the computer, he was also foolish enough to leave behind his digital fingerprints. He even failed to log out of his FaceBook account before leaving the scene. New technologies are making it easier to solve crimes, but sometimes the criminals themselves play a greater role in their downfall than any technology.
A Pennsylvania aggravated assault defendant is no longer a fugitive, after police in Luzerne County used FaceBook to nab 35 year old Anthony "Jimi" Lescowitch, but certainly not in the way the police had anticipated. The Freeland Police Department posted a mug shot from one of Lescowitch's many prior arrests on their FaceBook page, urging the public to notify law enforcement if they had any information about the fugitive. In what may be a first in the young history of social media, Mr. Lescowitch shared the Freeland Police Department's digital wanted poster on his own FaceBook page!