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Cops nab Brooklyn burglars after friending them on Facebook
The Brower Boys repeatedly bragged about their conquests on Facebook—as the NYPD watched.
Brooklyn police have cracked down on a criminal gang with a new kind of informant: the Facebook friend.
Officer Michael Rodrigues, who works the Crown Heights beat, needed evidence on a gang that was burglarizing homes with seeming impunity.
So he simply friended them on Facebook, and watched as they confessed to crimes on their walls.
Fourteen members of the so-called Brower Boys gang, ranging from age from 15 to 19, have been charged, police said Wednesday.
The gang is accused of a year-long string of crimes, which escalated from petty theft to ever-more violent burglaries before police stepped in. In one incident, four members allegedly invaded a home, tied up the man and woman living there, and sexually assaulted the woman.
After gathering substantial evidence on the gang, Rodrigues noticed on March 2 that one member updated his status to “It’s break-in day on the avenue.”
Cops tailed the man and arrested him as he broke into an apartment.
According to NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, at least one gang member warned his compatriots against bragging online about criminal activity, saying “you all just gave yourself away.”
But others, he said, dismissed such warnings, typing “LOL.”
“There was one person laughing out loud,” Kelly said. “That was police officer Michael Rodrigues.”
Photo via YouTube
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.