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How Instagram photos can get you into trouble

While our recent posts have focused on the dangers of driving under the influence in New Jersey, there are some “you’ve got to be kidding me” stories that must be told. The story of a West Palm Beach, Florida man who was indicted based on his Instagram photos falls into this category.

According to a recent New York Daily News report, the man had posted a number of photos on his online gallery of him posing with guns and allegedly stolen merchandise. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department had been investigating the man because they believed he was involved in a string of robberies where retirement home communities had been hit. When they came across his account, they believed they had probable cause to search his home.

When searching the man’s home, police found a trove of jewelry, guns, and electronics. The value of the items was estimated at $250,000. As it turned out, the man was found to be the ringleader in a burglary ring that reportedly had stolen items from 40 retirement communities in the area. He was charged with 140 felonies as a result.

The story is a cautionary tale for those under investigation by the police for unresolved crimes. Putting one’s exploits on social media sites invites further investigation. It also provides ready-made evidence of a crime that has been committed. While taking pictures has grown into an indispensible part of pop culture, it is also important use some common sense in realizing how such information can be used against a person.

Source: NYDailyNews.com, “Florida man’s Instagram photos lead to 142 felony charges,” Victoria Taylor, December 14, 2013

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