John Marchiano: On Bragging Criminals and Performance Crimes

Written by John Marchiano

Crime doesn’t pay. But those who brag about their crimes online are making it pay off big time for criminal defense lawyers and cops, says attorney John Marchiano …

aNewDomainjohn marchiano – Some 1.95 billion people now using social media worldwide, and some of them are criminals.

No wonder social media is turning out to be such a boon to law enforcement. The medium is ideal for so-called ‘performance crimes,’ where lawbreakers actually brag about their endeavors on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other communities.

Brazen crime sharing on social, say investigators, is typically just a gambit for attention. Sometimes it’s material for gang initiation and recruitment. But it’s fast becoming an invaluable tool for investigators in terms of finding suspects, identifying them and closing cases.

On YouTube, a “Chick Bank Robber” brags …

In 2012, a video surfaced of Hannah Sabata, 19, aka the“Chick Bank Robber.”

The Nebraskan teen was nabbed just hours after she published a braggy commentary of her escapades to YouTube, complete with a sign stating “I just stole a car and robbed a bank. Now I’m rich, I can pay off my college financial aid and tomorrow I’m going for a shopping spree. Bite me. I love Green Day!

Through subtitles, signs and the display of the “gun, pillowcase, and noteSabata told viewers that she “Robbed a bank!”

A viewer notified the police after watching the video. Sabata was taken into custody.

OnTwitter, a Periscope Rape

Earlier this year, Marina Lonina of Columbus, Ohio, was sentenced to nine months in jail for recording her friend’s brutal rape and broadcasting it on Periscope.

Lonina and the victim met an acquaintance, Raymond B. Gates, for an afternoon of shopping. The next day, the girls

met up at his apartment to party.

Once the victim was intoxicated, Gates proceeded to ra

pe her, while Lonina filmed. Though her lawyer claimed she recorded the video “as evidence,” police used the video, uploaded live, to apprehend and , ultimately, to convict Gates of rape.

A judge sentenced Gates to nine years in prison for the rape.

Confessing on Facebook

Confessing on Facebook might be the quickest way to get booked.

performance crimesTake Rodney Knight Jr. In 2011, he broke into the home of Washington Post journalist Marc Fisher, where he stole cash, a coat and a laptop that belonged to his son. Police say Knight next logged onto Facebook — using Fisher’s son account! — and posted a photo of himself wearing the stolen coat.Not surprisingly, some of 400 of Fisher’s Facebook friends clued in police, who tracked down Knight and arrested him within the space of hours.

And then there’s Kentuckian Michael Baker. The 20-year-old used his own account to post a photo of himself siphoning gas from a local police car.

The picture at right, which he posted, says it all.

For aNewDomain, I’m John Marchiano.