Attention wannabe vigilantes! Drop your homemade weaponry, because these days you can get your crime-solving fill without even leaving the house. The new ultimate device for catching the culprit? Facebook.
This trend certainly isn't new, and as people catch on, criminals are getting busted -- caught because they just couldn't escape the allure of bragging about their criminal achievements on the newsfeed or posting easily identifiable pictures of themselves in online photo albums.
So, would-be criminals and fledgling crime-fighters: Read below, as we walk through the stories of successful Facebook justice. Before you know it, there will be a Nicolas Cage movie about a sheltered genius who uses social networking sites (FaceSpace, MyBook?) to fight the forces of evil, coming to theaters near you.
Lesson #1: If you spray paint a special tag all around town, you might not want to brand it to your Facebook page.
We totally get the need to broadcast talents to friends on Facebook -- that's what it's for, right? But unless you're Banksy, your masterful tags probably won't go over too well with the feds. That's why, when specific tags were appearing all over Winnipeg, officers received a tip directing them to Facebook, where they found the same designs on an 18-year-old's page.
Lesson #2: If you get caught on surveillance camera, just because you don't have a mug shot on file doesn't mean your face isn't already out there for the finding.
Smile! ... Or not. The Queenstown police of southern New Zealand nabbed their first Facebook crook after they caught a good shot of a burglar looking directly at the security camera after removing his mask. Quickly after posting the shot to their two-month-old page, tipsters sent suggestions and they identified the 21-year-old thief.
Lesson #3: Don't get wasted and steal someone's laptop -- especially if she's tech-savvy and you're an important financial planner whose job is at stake.
Lesson #4: You may think you hate Facebook ... until it fixes your truck's windshield, returns your GPS and your XM satellite radio.
Lesson #5: When you commit a hurtful hate crime on your college campus, don't assume your victim doesn't know how to find you on Facebook. He might just find you before the police even open the case against you.
Lesson #6: Before you commit a crime, check to see if your local police department has a Facebook page.
Maine residents better watch their backs ... and their logins. The Auburn Police Department had its Facebook page up for only three weeks before it started helping them to close cases. From vandalism to burglary, the most recent success involved finding a video on the site featuring a resident stealing a snowboard. And forget the nightly news -- it only took a few hours for a video the department posted of a sandwich-shop robbery to get hundreds of views, hopefully leading to a quick ID.
This photo provided by Val Verde, Texas, County Sheriff's Office shows one-time NFL cheerleader and reality TV bride-to-be Mary Delgado who is out of jail after being arrested in a Del Rio, Texas, bar, Sunday, Nov 16, 2008. Delgado, who accepted a televised proposal from "The Bachelor," or professional bass fisherman Byron Velvick, in 2004, was arrested in Del Rio early Sunday after refusing to leave a local bar. She was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and resisting arrest and released about an hour later.
Val Verde County Sheriff's Office / AP
Before they were famous, Hugh Hefner's new twin girlfriends Karissa and Kristina Shannon, 19, were arrested in 2007 after a bar fight. Double your pleasure, double your felony aggravated battery.
She really has that "girl next cell" quality, don't you think?
Hey baby, why the long face?
So sultry. She must've been booked for a crime of passion.
We know this type. Crazy and crazy in bed. You want to break up with her, but you're afraid of her reaction. We don't blame you.
If you want to impress the jury it helps to button up your housecoat.
Is it us, or does she look like Eva Longoria's naughty little sister? Score!
Hello, kitty! Bringing cute back to the booking room.
A former child beauty pageant star, Karen still loved having her picture made, regardless of where it was.