The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is part of a growing movement in law enforcement - one that involves a social media strategy of posting photos of wanted criminals on Facebook in the hopes that it will help generate leads. Last week, one fugitive made it all too easy.
On July 10th, the Pasco Sheriff's Office (Florida, of course) posted a photo of 23-year-old Matthew Oliver as their "Fugitive of the Day." They said that he was wanted in connected with a robbery, and asked their Facebook followers to share it and report any tips on his whereabout.
But just a few hours later, Mr. Oliver himself commented on the post.
"You guys are going to pay for A. Believing a crack head. and B. Slandering my name. I already heard about this whole thing and I was in the hospital the day of," he said. "This is bullshit all I have to do is accuse someone and they get in trouble, Pasco County has nothing but fools investigating crimes for them that's why these mix up happen."
Here's a beautiful exchange where Oliver claims that his warrant has been deactivated, another commenter tells him that he's mistaken, and the Pasco County Warrants Division asks him to call to discuss his active warrant:
Oliver commented a few more times over the next day or so, half of them proclaiming his innocence, the other half hitting back at all the haters. On July 12th, his comments stopped.
That's because he'd been arrested.
"Members of the Fugitive Warrants Unit observed Matt Oliver as he walked into an apartment wearing a T-shirt. Moments later he came back outside where it is 80 degrees, wearing a camouflage jacket with the hood up. He was apprehended without any resistance," said the Pasco Fugitive's Office in a statement.
He spent the weekend in jail and is waiting to be arraigned.
By Tuesday, he was back at it - commenting on the same Facebook post. In his latest comment, he claims that his Facebook account was hacked at some point during all of this:
Hey guys first off I'd like to say that the warrant officers for Pasco County were extremely professional and incredibly sincere. They are the best at what they do and I hope they don't think my negative comments were towards them. I see a lot of negative comments on my looks and the fact you don't believe that I have trained and fought MMA just look at my FB videos or watch me on you tube "Matt Oliver Jiu Jitsu. I was treated very well when I was brought in and while I was in jail and I have no complaints about any of the officers. But when you KNOW you didn't do anything and you have severe medical problems and I had several follow up appointments and tests to do I didn't want to take the risk of going to jail before I knew it was behind me. I had every intention of turning myself in AND my FB did get hacked at one point during this whole thing.
Police say that the Fugitive of the Day Facebook initiative has been working, but this is the first time that a fugitive has commented on his own posting and it has helped the Sheriff's office nab him. By the time it was over, the post had over 400 shares.