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How Facebook Sharing Got A Crook Caught

Updated on August 4, 2023

Dumb Crook Story?

Published January 24, 2014 by Mary McShane

This story was reported on many websites. Facebook took center stage.

Ah, yes. Facebook. Where you can have as many identities as you have email addresses.

Sing it to the Cheers melody:

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
Or whatever name you are using today.

This story could be classified as:

  1. Dumb Crook Story
  2. Stupid things people do on Facebook
  3. Man falls for the oldest hook in the world

The Details:

On January 20, 2014, police in Freeland Pennsylvania used the police department's Facebook page to publish a Wanted poster. They had been looking for a fugitive Anthony James Lescowitch, age 35, since early November 2013 for robbery and aggravated assault charge from July 2013 and probation violations.

It should not surprise you that even police departments have their own Facebook page these days. What is surprising is that this particular fugitive was monitoring that page.

It could be that he was flattered to see his photo because his next action was boastful.

"He taunted the police" for not being able to locate him, according to The Denver Post, an online newspaper. The Daily Star website writes "the fugitive himself shared the wanted poster to his own Facebook page tastefully captioning alongside it: "lol i f***** love it, A**HOLE."

It was actually in the comments under the photo, which is presented as a screen shot in this article.

Anthony Lescowitch goes by "Jimi" on his Facebook page.

Like I said, where everybody knows you by whatever name you are using.

Hold on, it gets better.

The "Wanted" poster which appears on the fugitive's Facebook page

Wanted Poster - This is a screenshot of the Wanted poster that Lescowitch shared to his Facebook page
Wanted Poster - This is a screenshot of the Wanted poster that Lescowitch shared to his Facebook page | Source

The decision to meet someone after chatting on Facebook

Police officer J.T.Rentschler saw the post being shared to Facebook by several people, followed the link shares and saw that the actual fugitive was one who shared it.

The police department made a decision to get this to work to their advantage, using the oldest trick in the book. A woman.

Posing as an attractive woman, the cop chatted him up for half an hour and suggested that they meet for a drink. Lescowitch refused. (It is possible he was a non-drinker. The comments on his Facebook page imply he is a member of an anonymous support group).

However, according to one newspaper account, The Times Leader, when the officer said, “The least you can do is come out and have a cigarette with me,” it was then that Lescowitch agreed.

When Lescowitch arrived at the meet location, a team of undercover police officers were delighted to see him and, with uniform police assistance, arrested him on the spot.

Exactly 45 minutes after sharing to his Facebook page, he was in custody. Two hours later, Freeland police then shared the following photo to their Facebook page. (see photos for timestamps)

The Police Celebrated With This Post

Timestamp is 23:05 - which is 11:05PM
Timestamp is 23:05 - which is 11:05PM | Source

I found the sequence of timestamps interesting

The capture was "announced" at 23:05 on January 20, 2014 according to Freeland Police timestamp above.

The following is a screenshot of the comments under the fugitive's "share" of his Wanted poster on his Facebook page.

Bad news travels fast.

In this case, less than 40 minutes after police posted his capture, people were discussing it in the comments on Lescowitch's Facebook page.

On screenshot below:

Comment at timestamp 23:42 January 20, 2014, Jim Blanyar wrote about Lescowitch having been captured. "Send him mail at LCCF"

Timestamp January 20, 2014 at 23:44 Bruce Klem: "Why is he there?"

Timestamp January 21, 2014 at 00:13 Luna Star wrote that he was just captured.

It hadn't even appeared on a news site yet, just the police department page. Clearly some of the fugitive's friends were also monitoring their page.

The last comment of the screen shot was interesting because it was edited. Timestamp reads 05:30 -January 21, 2014

Joseph Koromi posted an "edited" link to an online newspaper which leads to Times Leader story. His post is dated and timestamped at 5:30AM. The story wasn't even posted on the Times Leader website until later that night January 21, 2014 at 11:49PM.

The comments under his Facebook share

This screenshot shows a comment made at 5:30 AM (Jan 21, 2014) providing a link to a story on a news website. The newspaper website didn't post the article until January 21, 2014 11:49PM, about 18 hours later.
This screenshot shows a comment made at 5:30 AM (Jan 21, 2014) providing a link to a story on a news website. The newspaper website didn't post the article until January 21, 2014 11:49PM, about 18 hours later. | Source

First local newspaper to post the story

This screenshot shows timestamp on Times Leader's website which is 11:49 PM, almost 24 hours after the fugitive was captured.
This screenshot shows timestamp on Times Leader's website which is 11:49 PM, almost 24 hours after the fugitive was captured.

Conclusion of Story

Anthony James Lescowitch was booked for assault, evading arrest, plus outstanding warrants for robbery and probation violations. He could not make $25,000 bail and was sent to a jail in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. His appearance for a hearing is on January 29, 2014.

Imagine the ribbing that will go on in the jail when other inmates learn how he came to be imprisoned there.

Lescowitch's Facebook "share" of his own Wanted Poster is truly a dumb crook story.

He's got practice as a criminal too. He's been in prison fifteen times since he was 16 years old. The three strikes, you're out law seems to not apply to everyone.

Your Opinions Please

While this story may be humorous to all but the captured fugitive, there is another point I'd like to discuss. Each link in this hub leads to a different news source and has featured the same story, sometimes in their own words, sometimes word for word of the original The Associated Press article, which posted a copyright.

Each news source has either cited a different sources, The Associated Press, or no source at all.

Please read on to give your opinion on copyrights.


As writers here on HubPages, we are very concerned about having our work copied to other websites. But does copying to other websites apply to news agencies?

In this case, it was a news story which was originally published by The Associated Press and "picked up" (in newspaper jargon) by other sites.

By following any of the links I have provided above in this story, you will see that the links lead to sites who republished the story either on their local television or radio stations, or on their websites or printed media (newspapers, press releases, etc.).

They have either slapped their own copyright on it, cited where they "saw" it, or cited the original posting party of The Associated Press or else left out copyright information all together. This represents only a small portion of posts; this story went viral around the world and is posted on over 400 websites.

The following screenshot is from Wikipedia. I am including it to show you that The Associated Press is a source for web portals like MSN and Yahoo, but also a source for over 1400+ newspaper members.

The 1400+ newspaper websites are not owned by The Associated Press. Wikipedia cites that their association is an "interactive endeavor."

Since it was reprinted word for word by many, and by others was changed a little to make it more original, what do you think about the copyright infringement aspect when the sites put their own copyright name on the story and leave out The Associated Press all together?

No matter if The Associated Press owns these outlets, or has an agreement with them, my interest here is purely the actual reposting of a story and the fact they are replacing or leaving out the copyright information.

Click to see bigger

Click to see bigger, sorry this is the biggest I could make this because it is so wide.
Click to see bigger, sorry this is the biggest I could make this because it is so wide. | Source

Safe from plagarism?

The Associated Press copyright reads:

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

So, are the websites safe from plagarism?

Does no copyright notice on a website mean it is free for others to copy it?

Here's a sample so you can see how each site showed (or not) sources:

Rapid City Journal - reprinted the article, and in the opague print at the bottom, you can see The Associate Press copyright imprint message. (Copy right 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed) - lists Uproxx as a source - lists no one as a source

The Huffington Post - cites as source. - no copyright notice

Metro - a UK website - gives Facebook as a source, probably for photo credit.

ABC local news in a large city (Philadelphia, PA) - put their own copyright on the story!

CBS Interactive website shows this: (copyright symbol) 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The proper way to post source


As you can see from the above screenshot, the information source (where they got the story) is listed as Times Leader and The Associated Press copyright is listed at the bottom of the article. This is the correct way to post source and copyright information.

The explicit wording of The Associated Press copyright seems to have been ignored because the story appears verbatim on over 200 newspaper and media sites and slightly different on another 200+ websites.

So, I have two poll questions for you and would appreciate your input and comments.

Is it copyright infringement (plagarism) if ...?

If a story is copyrighted on a news webpage, is it copyright infringement for ANY and ALL websites who reposted the story word for word, even if they cited the original posting source?

See results

How about in this example?

But for the sake of argument, let's assume that the repost was not this news story, okay?

Let's say it was an excerpt from "Your Best Selling Novel" and that they chose a chapter from your book, republished it, and instead of listing you or your book as a source on it, they either put no name or they listed a site where they happened to find the chapter posted.

Is that plagarism?

Thank you for reading and for answering the poll questions.

© Mary McShane

In this instance?

If a chapter from Your Best Selling Novel is published on a website, and you are not cited as source ...

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Mary McShane


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