Facebook Criminals: Man Caught Less Than an Hour after Posting His Own Wanted Poster24-Jan-2014
Facebook: It's a way to connect with peers. It's a way to reconnect with old friends and old flames. It's a way for dumb criminals to get caught.
Last spring, this blog discussed the case of Misty VanHorn, the Oklahoma woman who attempted to sell her children on Facebook in order to raise money to bail her boyfriend out of jail. VanHorn's case is far from the only criminal case to play out over the social networking site, however. In fact, just this week, a fugitive wanted on assault charges was arrested only 45 minutes after posting his own wanted poster on his Facebook profile.
Anthony Lescowitch, 35, had been a fugitive since November 2013 after being charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and disorderly conduct following an incident in July. When the local police department released a wanted poster, they noticed that within minutes of its release, Lescowitch shared the image on his Facebook profile, with the status, "Lol i f***ing love it, A**HOLE."
Obviously, anyone who is going to overshare all of his personal information--including his own wanted poster--has a bit of an ego problem. Police quickly seized on that ego and used it against the fugitive.
Seeing an opportunity to nap Lescowitch, police created a fake Facebook profile, pretending to be an attractive woman. The decoy contacted Lescowitch and chatted with him for about 30 minutes before attempting to arrange a meeting. At first, Lescowitch declined, but the "woman" persisted, telling the fugitive that he could at least meet her for a cigarette.
Lescowitch agreed, but when he arrived at the agreed-upon destination, there was no attractive woman waiting to meet him, but rather police officers who arrested him on the spot.
Not to be outdone, police countered Lescowitch's taunting Facebook status with their own: "CAPTURED!!!!!! SHARES OUR STATUS ON FACEBOOK ABOUT HIMSELF, CAPTURED 45 MINUTES LATER."
Lescowitch is not the first person to be arrested after Facebook activity related to his own wanted poster. Last summer, the Pasco County (Florida) Sheriff's Office posted a photograph and warrant of a man wanted for allegedly stealing a woman's wallet. The suspect, Matthew Oliver, 23, commented on the picture, "You guys are going to pay for… believing a crackhead and… slandering my name. Pasco County has nothing but fools investigating crimes for them that’s why these mix up happen." After Oliver responded to the post, it was shared more than 400 times, and those who knew the suspect began calling in tips to provide his whereabouts. He was arrested two days later outside his mother's home.
Defense attorneys repeatedly caution people against speaking to police or anyone else about their case without legal representation. It should go without saying that this also includes electronic communication--especially in a public forum like Facebook, Twitter, or other social network. If police have a warrant for your arrest, talk to an attorney to find out how to best resolve the issue. Running from a warrant is not the best solution; neither is publicly taunting the police on Facebook. Visit our website to find the answers to some frequently asked questions about criminal law in Oklahoma, or click here to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a qualified criminal defense lawyer.
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