Social Networks, Criminal Networks?
One of Italy's 100 most wanted criminals was arrested in Isola Capo Rizzuto on Tuesday, thanks to his love of Facebook.
ABC News reports that police tracked mafia boss Pasquale "Scarface" Manfredi, 33, was tracked by police because the boss of the 'Ndrangheta mafia organization of Calabria in Southern Italy logged onto the social networking site so often that they could trace his internet connection back to his hideout.
Manfredi is accused of at least 20 crimes and a number of killings, including the 2004 massacre of a rival clan leader in which he blew up the leader's armored car with a bazooka. According to Crotone police chief Angelo Morabito, "He is without a shadow of doubt the most dangerous criminal of the province of Crotone."
So, perhaps the recent news that the Justice Department is trolling social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, is good news. This is not the first time that a criminal's love of social networking has been their undoing, after all--here are four more criminals who might have remained anonymous, had it not been for their love of the Net.
Heather Ann Tucci
Eighteen-year-old Heather Ann Tucci was the driver of a car that was involved in an accident that resulted in the deaths of two teenage boys on August 19, 2006. She pled "not guilty" to two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and then posted the following to her MySpace page:
"I just want to let everyone know August 19 2006 Joe Renner and Joe Shafer died and me and Samatha were hurt. I'm sure a lot of you really don't give a **** about me. Fine whatever you have your reasons I don't blame you but really think about it. Both of them knew what they were getting in to. Yes it's my fault because I was the driver but think about how many of you did what I did. ... Now don't get me wrong I take full responsability for everything that happened, but when you sit and say everything your saying think about what you probley did the day before that or maybe that night. You all take that risk. I never though it was gonna happen to me and it did. I learned from that I lost two very good friends of mine and a lot of people did."
In January 2007, Robert Powell was arrested for the murder of his friend Joseph Duprey, after he posted pictures of Duprey on his MySpace page with the words "Rest in Peace" and "LTM" ("Live Through Me") next to them -- before Duprey's death was reported to police. According to police, the murder was the result of a dispute over a gun Powell had borrowed from Duprey.
Police arrested him on three counts of murder, as he posted pictures of Jason Blake and Kenneth Blain (both of whom were killed in 2006) next to the pictures of Duprey.
Cyrus "Buket" Yazdani
Graffiti artist Cyrus Yazdani (known through his graffiti tags as "Buket") started posting Youtube videos of his "artwork" on Los Angeles walls, busses, and highway overpasses, and became, well, rather popular. His videos, including an action video of him tagging a highway overpass, drew more than 500,000 views. Unfortunately, some of those views were from the LAPD, who arrested him on charges of felony vandalism in May 2008.
On February 3, 2010, Chris Crego was arrested at his workplace in Terre Haute, Indiana, after he posted the details -- including his work hours -- to his Facebook and MySpace pages. Crego was previously arrested in the fall of 2009, in New York, for assault -- to which he pled guilty and promptly fled the state.
Detectives started looking for Crego on the internet and found a Facebook page and a MySpace account, both of which listed his current residence as Terre Haute, Indiana, and his place of employment as a tattoo parlor called Body Art Ink. Using this information, U.S. Marshals in Indiana easily tracked Crego down.
Crego was sentenced to one year and 15 days in Niagara County Jail on assault and driving while intoxicated charges.
For more Facebook felons, check out: Stupid Criminal Tricks on Facebook