Social networking has changed the lives of criminals, for whom sites like Facebook have become both a convenient way to commit crime and broadcast their exploits — and a somewhat less convenient way to get caught. Here's a quick look at Facebook users who've had digital brushes with the law:
1. The Christmas-dinner fugitive
Craig "Lazie" Lynch escaped from a British jail last September, midway through a seven-year sentence for aggravated burglary. Since then, the digitally savvy fugitive has focused on aggravating police, boasting about his ever-changing whereabouts on his Facebook page — and even posting a photo of himself enjoying a Christmas dinner. The well-fed Lynch, who's attracted 40,000 new Facebook followers, is still at large. (Update: Nice try, "Lazie.")
2. The relentless poker
Facebook's famously annoying "poking" tool — which allows you to digitally alert a friend of your presence online — has its fans, but Shannon D. Jackson of Hendersonville, TN is no longer one of them. Jackson violated a restraining order last October by "poking" another woman too frequently and now faces up to a year in jail.
3. The "Where's my pancakes?" alibi
New York City teen Rodney Bradford, 19, was accused of unspecified crimes last November, but went free when Facebook records revealed that someone using a computer at his father's house had updated Bradford's Facebook profile with the words "where's my pancakes" at the exact moment the felony took place. Though it's possible that someone other than Bradford may have posted the status update, the district attourney reportedly dismissed the notion, saying it would imply "a level of criminal genius that you would not expect from a young boy like this; he is not Dr. Evil."
4. The compulsive-networker burglar
While burglarizing a house in his native Pennsylvania last September, Jonathan Parker decided to check his Facebook page on the victim's computer. One problem: He forgot to log out afterwards. Noting all of his personal details, police tracked him down the next day.
5. The overzealous underage drinkers
When Nebraskans teens Christopher and Cassandra Phelan took advantage of Facebook's party-organizing functionality last April, they advertised their unsupervised house bash as a "history making" event featuring no fewer than six kegs of beer. Unfortunately, the siblings' Facebook invite reached both their underage friends and local police — who busted more than 46 minors in half-an-hour.
6. The endangered-iguana nibblers
In one of the most bizarre Facebook-related felonies to date, vacationers Vanessa Starr Palm and Alexander Daniel Rust killed and ate an endangered iguana in the Bahamas — then reportedly posted photos of themselves enjoying their forbidden feast, as well as "cleaning what appears to be an undersized conch." Bahamans authorities noticed the heedless hedonism — and threw Palm and Rust in jail.
7. The smuggest Facebook felon of all
Unfortunately, not every Facebook felon gets his or her just desserts. The unidentified thief who stole 42-year-old Victoria Richardson's laptop, iPhone, Nintendo DS and handbag from her apartment in East Sussex, England, last August have never been caught, but the comments the thief posted on Richardson's Facebook page using her own computer remain. The intruder updated her status to read, "listening to music on my new phone feels so good," and left a note thanking her for buying such expensive goods, then signed off with, "Regards, your nighttime burglar."
SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S FACEBOOK COVERAGE
• Facebook's sexy bra stunt
• 10 most compulsive Twitterers of 2009
• 9 'reply all' email disasters
• 8 Facebook misfires that ruined lives
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- America's anti-feminist mega-corporations' toxic disregard for women must stop
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Keira Knightley on Laggies, relationships, and surviving your 20s
Subscribe to the Week