Facebook Burglar Posts His Photo on Victim's Facebook Wall

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 25, 2011 5:47 AM

When Washington Post editor Marc Fisher received an urgent text message from his teenage son, he rushed home to find the police pulling up to his house. Someone had broken in.

Amongst the stolen possessions was his son's laptop, complete with secure data and stored passwords. This is where the story takes a turn towards the strange.

As he tells it, the burglar popped onto his son's laptop, took a full-face photo of himself wearing a stolen coat and pointing to stolen money, and then posted it on his son's Facebook wall. Hence the Facebook Burglar.

After writing about the boastful Facebook Burglar, Facebook heard of Fisher's story and stepped in. Though the network takes a lot of heat for its privacy policies, the company secured the account and tracked the burglar.

A few weeks later, police apprehended Rodney Knight Jr., 19. Cops stopped him after he ran down an alley clutching his waistband. He was carrying a loaded pistol, reports The Washington Post. He also pled guilty in court earlier this week to a charge of second-degree burglary.

When someone steals another person's property, they can be charged with theft, larceny, burglary, robbery, and a host of other crimes. What makes burglary so different?

Burglary deals with crime that occurs when someone unlawfully enters a building. In other words, it's a more fancy way to say "breaking and entering and committing a crime." In addition to showing that a defendant intended to (or did) commit a crime, a prosecutor has to prove that the defendant broke into some sort of structure. This can be done by force, by merely opening a door or window, or even by fraudulently talking oneself in. The defendant then had to have entered the structure. This can be physically, or it could simply be causing something else to enter that the defendant could use to commit a crime.

Some jurisdictions also follow the old common law definition of burglary that requires that the defendant have broken into a house, and that it have occurred at night. Most states, however, have gotten rid of these requirements.

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