Facebook: The Crimestopper Edition

November 13, 2009

In the last few years, Facebook has become an integral piece of our social fabric.  I remember being in high school, jealous of my friends who were already in college and eligible for membership to the then college-only network.  When I got my Facebook account, I instantly had a couple hundred new “friends” (the other freshman from my university were quick to start “friending” everyone in the class of 2009 and creating “09 is the best eva!” groups).  My mother was forced by her employer to create an account for business purposes.  My dad uses his to keep in touch with his aunts, uncles and cousins in Michigan.  Despite the ability to expand my social circle, I never found anything actually useful about Facebook (although I do check it quite frequently).  But now, Facebook has a new use – providing alibis and saving people from jail time.  Finally  – a legitimate excuse to use Facebook.

2 weeks ago, Facebook did much more than allow Rodney Bradford to keep in touch with his girlfriend.  Unbeknownst to him, it was also going to be a key factor in getting him out of jail.  After he was named as a suspect in a mugging, Rodney turned himself in – knowing that he hadn’t actually committed the crime and believing his name would immediately be cleared.  However, when the victim picked him out of a lineup, he spent 12 days in a New York jail.

Rodney’s alibi was that he was at his fathers house, and it was true.  However – once he was picked out of the lineup, the courts weren’t buying it. It wasn’t until Rodney’s father saw a message Rodney had posted to his girlfriend on Facebook, approximately 1 minute before the crime happened in another part of the city, that his name was cleared.  Using the timestamp provided in the Facebook post, and the location of the computer from which it was posted, authorities were able to determine that Rodney had, in fact, been at this father’s house in an entirely different part of the city 1 minute before the crime was committed.

Rodney’s home with his dad and stepmother now, cleared of any crimes.  And his family is probably thrilled with any time he decides to spend on Facebook.

Posted by Courtney || Follow me on Twitter