Mon 18 Jun, 2012 05:10 am
As reported by the New York Daily News earlier this week,
Brooklyn police officers were able to arrest an entire burglary gang
called the Brower Boys by simply befriending the burglars on Facebook.
Working in Crown Heights, Officer Michael Rodrigues sent friend
requests to several members of the burglary crew and simply
monitored status updates to piece together information about
recent and upcoming heists. In one instance, a gang member
posted “It’s break-in day on the avenue” on Facebook, thus allowing
Rodrigues to monitor his actions during the day. The police had been
aware of the gang’s activity for approximately one year, but was
able to track the gang members to each burglary location after
the Facebook post and film them in the act before arresting them.
The gang was made up of approximately fourteen teenagers ranging
in ages from 13 to 19 and had focused on stealing electronics from
empty apartments in order to sell the illegally-obtained goods to
stores within the city. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes
indicated that the criminal behavior had escalated to violence
recently with the sexual assault of a woman during a home invasion
earlier this year. The entire crew faces a 102-count indictment for
robbery and burglary as well as other more serious charges.
According to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, the Brower Boys
continued to use Facebook to organize criminal action even after
becoming aware of other gangs in Brooklyn that were indicted
during January 2012 when police used their posts on Twitter and
Facebook as evidence against them. Instead, they joked about
becoming targets of the police and continued to discuss how they
would divide up cash received from the sale of stolen electronics.
At least one member of the gang attempted to dissuade others from
posting information about each theft on Facebook, but the others simply laughed at him.