If you’re going to steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and live on the run in another country, that’s your prerogative. Just don’t come back into the original country with a fake passport and post photos on Facebook, and then expect to not get caught.
Charles Rodriguez, 31, has been caught by police after he stole more than $100,000 worth of diamonds and pearls from a jeweler in Manchester, Britain, ran away to Colombia, vacationed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a fake passport, went shopping in London with the same passport and documented it all on Facebook. Rodriguez was stopped by London police for driving suspiciously and pleaded guilty to robbery at a hearing this week.
"Rodriguez's arrogance was astonishing. After committing an appalling attack on a jewelry trader, he fled the country to his native Colombia where he knew he could not be extradited," Detective Sergeant Roger Smethurst said in a statement. "However, his lack of remorse was evident by the fact he brazenly posted sightseeing pictures from Brazil - at a time when he was on the run - on his Facebook page."
This is not the first time someone has been caught for something they might have otherwise gotten away with if it weren’t for Facebook. In 2010, a 19-year-old mother from Keystone Heights, Fla. faced legal trouble after she posted a photo to Facebook of her infant appearing to smoke out of a bong. The Florida Department of Children and Families launched an investigation and planned to drug test both the mother and child, despite the mother's protests that the photo was taken as a joke.
Image via Huffington Post
According to a 2009 study by Internet security firm Proofpoint, eight percent of companies with more than 1,000 employees have fired someone for social media actions, a number that has certainly gone up in the past four years. This includes the New England Patriots. Cheerleader Caitlin Davis was fired in 2008 after pictures appeared of her holding a sharpie up to an unconscious man with offensive graffiti all over him.
Image via Sports Full Circle
A first-grade teacher in Paterson, NJ was fired after referring to her students as “future criminals” on her personal Facebook page in 2011. Her statements read, “I’m not a teacher – I’m a warden for future criminals!” and “They had a scared straight program in school – why couldn’t [I] bring [first] graders?” Officials filed a complaint against Jennifer O’Brien for “conduct unbecoming to a teacher.”
Inappropriate photos are also grounds for termination. Daemon Johnson, 45, was a police inspector in Northamptonshire, England, before being fired for posting a picture of his “willy.” Johnson was dismissed for gross misconduct last week after serving the force for 25 years.
As a citizen’s duty, we all have to endure jury duty at some point. In jury duty, the rule is to not discuss the case (until instructed to do so), talk about anyone involved to anyone else, speak to anyone involved in the case or read any media related to the case. An anonymous tip turned in a British woman serving jury duty for posting details of the case she was serving on. She couldn’t make up her mind, so she wrote, “I don’t know which way to go, so I’m holding a poll.” Posting on Facebook about the case, about the people involved to people not involved and using the Internet violates every single one of those rules.
Not all employment termination because of Facebook is legal – the National Labor Relations Board ruled in 2010 that “workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.”
Still, if you have to think twice about what you are posting, you know what they say: When in doubt, throw it out. Better safe than fired or arrested, right?
Edited by Jamie Epstein