5 Facebook-Related Crime-Fighting Wins

In light of the fact several U.S. (and other) federal agencies are using Facebook/ social media sites to lure and track suspects or known criminals, we wanted to give a sampling of some of the ways that, in the past year or so, Facebook has somehow played a role in helping authorities catching criminals and troublemakers. Arrests are often due as a result of suspects’ use, or a private citizen’s use, of Facebook. (Note: Facebook, the company, is by no means responsible for any of these situations.)

  1. Italian gangster caught due to Facebook use. A hitman who named himself “Scarface” was recently captured by Italian police, thanks to indiscreet use of his Facebook account. Pasquale Manfredi also possibly received coded orders via Facebook and might have used his account for communication with other mobsters.
  2. Idiot updates Facebook Wall during burglary. In late 2009, Italian police caught a burglar who stupidly decided to send messages from a victim’s computer during a break-in. This evidence incriminated the man, proving he had been in the house.
  3. Man fined for abusive Facebook messages. A British man was fined for insulting his girlfriend via Facebook messages. The messages were said to be indecent, offensive and abusive, and supposedly stemmed from his failed efforts to see their child.
  4. Facebook used to incriminate thief. Surprise, Arizona, police arrested a thief who had stolen a watch, wallet and other items from a home. This was thanks to a man who bought the watch from the thief, after contact via a Craigslist ad. When the buyer determined the watch was registered to someone else, he sent Facebook messages to several people with the same name. After receiving a response from the real owner, police were notified, and the buyer identified the thief in a lineup.
  5. Racist instigator teen arrested. NJ police arrested a 16 year-old boy who used a Wal-Mart audio system to announce racist comments to customers across the store. After the incident, the boy and some friends left the store in a hurry, but police found him by searching social networks for, believe it or not, “kids bragging.”

Do you know of any other ways that Facebook has been instrumental in helping capture a criminal or stop a crime? Given that there are some hardcore types using Facebook to lure children and disseminate dangerous information, do you think authorities should continue using Facebook and other social media? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

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