Imagine if the most important sentence you ever wrote was a Facebook status update that goes something like this: "ON THE PHONE WITH THIS FAT CHICK......WHERER MY IHOP." Now you know how it feels to be 19-year-old Rodney Bradford, who used that all-caps message to keep himself out of prison.
The teen was suspected of a gunpoint robbery until he used the status update as an alibi, proving to a district attorney that the message had been written in Harlem at the time of the mugging in Brooklyn's Farragut Houses, according to the Times' blog The Local. Oddly, the Times cleans up Bradford's status update — which it describes as being "written in indecipherable street slang" that was "gobbledygook to anyone besides Mr. Bradford" — to read "Where's my pancakes." A visit to Bradford's Facebook page reveals it actually says "ON THE PHONE WITH THIS FAT CHICK......WHERER MY IHOP." (This blog has more on the discrepancy between the messages.)
Sources told the paper that this might be the first time that a Facebook status update has been effectively used as an alibi. That said, Bradford — who has since updated his status to read "CALL ME FACEBOOK KID..." — remains the suspect in another mugging, and some claim he could have had friends or family enter the Facebook update in Harlem while he committed the crime in Brooklyn. “Some of the brightest people on the Internet are teenagers. They know the Internet better than a lot of people. Why? Because they use it all the time," said Joseph Pollini, who teaches in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “So they could develop an alibi. They watch television, the movies, there is a multitude of reasons why someone of that age would have the knowledge to do a crime like that.”
Bradford's attorney denies those allegations. "This implies a level of criminal genius that you would not expect from a young boy like this; he is not Dr. Evil."