Do we have a new John Dillinger on our hands? A celebrity criminal is on the rise, with the fugitive gaining popularity as he taunts cops and authorities with Facebook status updates. After escaping an open jail in Suffolk, VA, 28 year-old Craig Lynch is milking his accomplishments by boasting on the popular social networking site. Months after becoming a fugitive of Hollesley Bay Prison, Lynch continues to share his life story through updates on his Facebook profile.
That’s what Facebook is for, right? Lynch has been sharing thoughts and details such as “Wow it really is xmas ha ha i cant believe i made it…” on Christmas morning. Just yesterday Lynch wrote “Good mornin everyone. I had a funny feelin that my door was going to come off this mornin then i remembered. The old bill are thick… And went back to sleep.”
The craziest part of it all? People are getting a kick out of Lynch’s audacity, and the building frustration that is resulting from cops trying to locate Lynch in the face of his bold social networking feats. Surely local authorities are not laughing at the embarrassment that Lynch’s particular case could cause. But Lynch is racking up thousands of followers, who are glued to his every status update as he continues to tease police officers.
Lynch’s Facebook profile is currently set to private–this makes it more difficult for others to see his updates if he doesn’t want them to, and also limits the ability of others to leave comments he’d rather not read. Retaining a level of control over his Facebook presence could also help Lynch dodge the police, who would prefer to return Lynch to prison to serve out his term for aggravated burglary.
Facebook may also begin to catch hell regarding Lynch’s actions–the social network will likely be called upon for cooperation with local Suffolk authorities in order to help locate Lynch based on his user account information. Facebook may also shut down Lynch’s account, as it could conflict with some of the company’s terms of service. The rallying interest in Lynch’s Facebook presence could be considered akin to a support group for a convicted criminal, which is the very sort of activity that could get a public group or fan page banned from Facebook.
The catch 22, however, is that Lynch could eventually mess up and give detectives the very clue they need in order to pinpoint Lynch’s hideout. The other day Lynch mentioned that the sirens he heard could be for him, but later found out that they were from an ambulance helping an elderly woman across the street. These kinds of details could be back-tracked to hone in on Lynch’s whereabouts, giving authorities reason to continue watching the fugitive’s Facebook status updates.
This wouldn’t be the first time that cops turned to Facebook to help find a criminal. Many times, information shared on Facebook can be self-incriminating, or merely help authorities to find one’s location. Access to a person’s social graph makes it easier for cops to find others to interview, giving more cause to the eventual discovery of one’s whereabouts. Technology is a tricky thing when it comes to the sharing of information, especially when the legalities around the protection of individual privacy come into play. For Lynch, it may very well boil down to this.
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