Fugitive Will Surrender if Wanted Poster Gains 15,000 Facebook Likes


Joe Simms, who is suspected to be on the run in New York, told police he will surrender if 15,000 people ‘like’ his wanted poster on Facebook.

A fugitive in the US has struck a deal with a police department to surrender if his wanted poster secures more than 15,000 ‘likes’ on social media.

Joe Simms, who police suspect is on the run in New York, failed to appear in court on a host of charges, including breach of the peace and risk of injury to a child.

The Torrington police department in Connecticut agreed to a deal with Simms after the fugitive contacted them through social media. Simms had initially suggested that he would turn himself in at 20,000 likes. However, Lt. Brett Johnson said he managed to cut the number down during negotiations.

“It will be difficult but is doable,” Lt. Johnson said.

Simms, who was contacted through Facebook by the Associated Press, said he was serious about the offer and is prepared to honour the agreement, insisting he is a “man of my word”.

Simms wrote: “I wanted to give them a little incentive for all the hard work they put in to catch me. He said that the charges were due to a series of domestic problems and that he has grown tired of eluding police. Looking over your shoulder every five seconds can cause a lot of stress.”

Lt. Johnson urged members of the public who may know Simms’ whereabouts to contact the police with information. The Facebook post has since received more than 20,000 likes and continues to rise hourly. However, at the time of writing, Simms’ is yet to turn himself in.

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Maki Haberfeld, an expert in police ethics and procedure at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told AP that Simms is using social media to manipulate police services. Haberfeld said police should not be negotiating a deal of this kind with a suspect, which attracts a lot of attention and plays into Simms’ hands.

“It turns this into a joke,” she said. “People will start looking at these various violations of law as a game.”

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