Law enforcement officials are turning to Facebook with greater frequency to catch criminals. From poring over photo albums for evidence to using status updates as proof in court, what you say and do on Facebook can have very real consequences. However, apparently no one told this to Matthew Oliver, 23, of New Port Richey, Florida, who responded to a Facebook post from a sheriff’s office with his picture and arrest warrant. Oliver was wanted for stealing a wallet from a man in December.
“You guys are going to pay for… believing a crackhead and… slandering my name,” Oliver wrote on the page. “Pasco County has nothing but fools investigating crimes for them that’s why these mix up[s] happen.”
He went on to say that he was in the hospital when the crime was committed, and could not be responsible for it. However, police used his Facebook comment, which was shared over 400 times, to gain a tip regarding his whereabouts and arrested him. Oliver was belligerent on the comment thread, engaging with other commenters who made fun of him for posting on his own “wanted” photo. However, he admitted to the police when they arrested him that he knew his commenting would help them catch him. This is a rather extreme case of the lesson, but the lesson remains the same: be careful what you write on Facebook.