Covered by CBS affiliate WKYT, 26-year-old Christina Lynn Bratcher thought it would be a brilliant idea to post taunts on the official Richmond police department Facebook page. At the time, Bratcher was wanted for questioning in regards to a shoplifting incident at a nearby Walmart. Richmond police use the department Facebook page to post information about various arrests and crimes as well as ask the community for help with identifying suspects shown in security video footage or stills from the video feed.
When Bratcher discovered the post on the Facebook page, she immediately started posting angry comments directed toward the police and members of the community that had left a comment. Specifically, she posted “Catch me if you can,” and “I’ve got mad pants.” The second phrase may have been referring to the merchandise she allegedly shoplifted from Walmart, however footage showed Bratcher wearing shorts or a shirt rather than a pair of pants.
Just a few hours after Bratcher posted on the Richmond police department Facebook page, police officers took her up on her taunt by locating and arresting her. She has been charged with one count of second-degree robbery in addition to two counts of trafficking in a simulated substance. Those charges were related to earlier events uncovered during an undercover investigation by narcotics detectives.
When asked about the frequency of these types of Facebook posts in an interview with NBC affiliate LEX18, Richmond Police Department assistant chief Bob Mott said “Generally they’re private messages coming back. They don’t generally post them on the main page to where everybody on the planet can see it. But this one was a little different to where she put it out there where everyone could see it.” When police receive these types of messages privately or publicly, personal information posted on a suspect’s Facebook profile can often lead to their arrest.
The phrase “Catch me if you can” seems to be popular among criminals that taunt authorities over social media. During May 2013, 19-year-old Sam Greenwood posted that phrase on the GMP Rochdale North Facebook page underneath his own mug shot according to the Manchester Evening News. Twelve hours later, law enforcement officers arrested Greenwood and posted “Caught you. Do not pass Go, do not collect £200, go straight to jail,” as a followup comment to his original taunt.
A similar incident occurred during July 2012 when 27-year-old James Tindell fired off Facebook messages to his probation officer containing the same phrase. As the probation officer watched Tindell’s Facebook page, he discovered Tindell’s location using comments and photos posted to Facebook. Tindell was quickly arrested in Alabama, transported to the state of Oregon to face charges and ultimately sentenced to an additional 2.5 years in prison in addition to being forced to pay the state for transportation costs related to his arrest in Alabama.