14 members of a Crown Heights gang were arrested after several accepted a Facebook friend request from an NYPD officer who suspected the group was tied to a string of offenses including burglary and sexual assault.
Anti-crime officer Michael Rorigues has been credited with the clever social media plot, using a covert Facebook name as an alias and his friend access to track the Brower Boys Gang's moves.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly detailed, "They signed off on their messages with LOL-laughing out loud. Well, there was a person who was laughing out loud. That was Police Officer Michael Rodrigues of the 77th Precinct."
Members arrested range from 15 to 19-years old, and are accused of various crimes, detailed in 102 count indictment.
Some climbed up fire escapes to break into victims' homes in order to rob them.
In one horrifying incident, three of the Boys are accused of "tying up a man and a woman during a robbery and sexually assaulting the 22-year-old female," The New York Post reports.
In 2011, the NYPD formed a new social media unit in order to keep tabs on illicit plans and crime boasts.
Shortly before the unit's creation, NYPD detectives and U.S. marshals helped track down a fugitive from Upstate New York who used Facebook to taunt the police to try and catch him.
In a similar twist, the department came under fire last year, after a "No More West Indian Day Parade Detail" Facebook group was uncovered, revealing more than 70 pages of racist, violent comments and names made by NYPD officers including "animals" and "savages" in reference to paradegoers.
The embarrassing incident prompted a new bill requiring officers to live in New York City in order to secure an "understanding of the individuals they are policing."
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