WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — West Warwick police say Facebook helped them track down a wanted criminal, but not before he used the social media site to taunt authorities.
Referring to himself as “The Gingerbread Man,” police said Carlos Benoit poked fun at a warrant out for his arrest on the department’s page by daring them to catch him if they could.
“Apparently, he gave indications that he did not want to turn himself in and that he was going to take it on the run and we’d have to come find him,” said West Warwick Police Chief Richard Silva.
Police said they turned to social media over the weekend when traditional attempts to track down Benoit failed. Benoit has an extensive criminal history, according to police, and was wanted for malicious damage and disorderly conduct.
“We decided that we’d try posting it on our Facebook page with the hopes of getting some tips so we could locate him,” the chief added.
Benoit soon started commenting on the post and when fellow Facebook users saw the exchange, the post went viral ultimately led to his arrest.
“Information we received from someone who had seen the interaction on Facebook led us to where he was and we ended up stopping him in a car,” Silva explained.
Silva said it’s the first time his department used social media to track down a wanted criminal.
Benoit appeared in court Monday morning and was released on $5,000 personal recognizance.