Social media helps catch crooks 'web-handed' - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Social media helps catch crooks 'web-handed'

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

It doesn't sound smart, but whoever said criminals were? More and more bad guys are taking to Facebook and Twitter to taunt police, daring officers to catch them.

Let's start with Rashia Wilson, the self-proclaimed first lady of tax fraud. She boasted on Facebook, holding stacks of money, and dared police to catch her. They did. Wilson was put behind bars, busted for stealing $3 million in tax refunds.

Accused shoplifter Christina Bratcher went on Facebook and told police, "Catch me if you can." That Facebook post led them right to her. Police say she used forced to get away from Walmart employees who tried to stop her from stealing.

Marcus Zanders posted a bottle of tequila and a pile of money on his Facebook page.

"It certainly made it easier because we knew. We had evidence right away that it was the guy,” said Prosecutor Aaron Negangard.

Cops can now link Zanders to a string of liquor store robberies.

When Marc Tarantino didn't show up to his sentencing on burglary and theft charges, police started looking for him. Tarantino helped out when he posted on Facebook page that deputies should be ready for a chase.

He wrote, “Tauga County mounty hope u wearin them nikes 2day!!!;) cuz y'all gone have to catch these boots.”

"Law enforcement sort of took that as a threat or challenge,” said Sheriff Herbie Johnson -- a challenge they accepted, calling in a state helicopter and dog tracking teams.

"The tracking dogs ran him down. He was afraid they were going to bite him. He gave up,” added Johnson.

Law enforcement agencies are constantly using social media as a tool to help aid in their investigations

"You would be surprised at some of the things they post right after a crime, right after the commission of a crime. They'll get on Facebook and they'll get on Twitter and start bragging about it. In their own way, they're helping us,” said Chief Deputy Derrick Cunningham.

Finally, there's Andrew Marcum. After police put his wanted poster on Facebook, Marcum responded. He said, "i ain't tripping half of them don't even know me."

"It's not good to taunt the police. We take that as the equivalent of a bear in a cage,” said Sheriff Richard Jones.

Hours after that post, Marcum was behind bars. His latest mug shot might be the only profile picture he can take for a while.

More criminals may be tweeting and bragging, but they are up against more officers, trained to use social media as a crime-fighting tool.

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