As detailed by the Kansas City Star this week, 30-year-old Matthew Creed has developed and launched a site called BlabberMouth in order to bring public attention to local arrests. However, he’s also attempting to financially profit by collecting a sizable fee from an arrested person to remove information like name, home address, date of birth, mug shot and the reason that the person was arrested. On the home page of the site, Creed has included an embedded Google Map that allows site visitors to search for arrested people living in their neighborhood. According to the site owner, the purpose of the site is to detour crime by notifying the public of criminal actions. However, all this information is already public record.
In an attempt to get the attention of Kansas City residents that have been arrested, Creed’s marketing plan includes sending a letter to an arrestee with their mug shot printed on the envelope. The letter included in the attention-grabbing envelope states “We have already started blabbing to the world about your release from jail. And we want to make you aware of our services, as we kind of have a big mouth!“
On the back of the letter under the payment information fields, Creed continued “We will canvas the neighborhood of someone just released from jail with flyers on every residence, even if they have not gone to trial or been convicted of the crimes brought against them.” Creed also has plans to publicize mug shots on digital billboards for more serious criminal acts.
According to the pricing information on the BlabberMouth site, an arrestee would have to pay $200 for a complete removal of their profile within twelve hours. A less expensive $150 option accomplishes the same thing, but can take up to four days. The Gold option costs $100 and only removes the home address along with the charges from the profile page. However, people searching the site can still find the arrestee on the Google Map. The Silver option costs $50 and only allows the removal of one item from the profile page.
For people in less of a hurry, there are two free options. For people arrested for their first or second DUI offense, the profile will be removed after the arrestee attends 90 days of Alcoholic/Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
The second option allows the arrestee to complete 180 hours of community service to have the profile removed. According to Creed, he also plans on refunding any money paid to the site if the arrestee is eventually found innocent on all charges.
Some recipients of the letter believe that Creed’s actions amount to extortion or blackmail. Lawyers for the recipients have contacted the district attorney’s office and Johnson County assistant district attorney Vanessa Riebli is currently investigating the legality of Creed’s business model. In retaliation, Creed’s own home address was published within a thread on the popular KSLR forums after his home address was found within a lawsuit filed last year that was also public record. Creed requested that the entire forum thread be deleted, but Erik Radzins, the owner of KSLR, rejected that request. Radzins stated “I feel it’s everybody’s right to know his information if he’s going to publish this information for thousands of other people. It’s just the highest amount of hypocrisy.”