You may recall the story that got a lot of press earlier this month about the bank robber who, rather creatively used Craigslist
to enlist a bunch of unwitting conspirators. He put up a day labor job ad, telling anyone interested to show up at a particular corner (in front of a bank) dressed in a very specific manner (blue shirt, safety goggles, dayglo work vest) where they would find out what work they were expected to do. Instead, the guy robbed the bank dressed in the same manner, and left police confused as they saw a bunch of folks who met the description of the bank robber.
However, it appears that the guy has now been caught
, as police used some good old fashioned detective work to figure out his identity -- relying on witness clues and DNA evidence. While the method of his getaway seems intriguing, what may be even more worthy of note is that the guy posted the original Craigslist ad using an open WiFi, believing that would help him avoid getting caught. Over the past few years, we've heard time and time again law enforcement officials complain and fret about open WiFi being a criminals' best friend, because it meant a criminal could do whatever they want and never get caught
. Yet, as we've seen time
and time again
, such criminals can often be tracked down via other means.
Yes, it's true that an open WiFi network makes it more difficult to track down the criminal, but we don't live in a world where criminals are expected to leave a calling card everywhere they go either. Instead, we expect police to do a variety of detective work. A guy who walks into a bank with a ski mask isn't identifiable by his face, but the police look at other clues. In the same way, a criminal who uses open WiFi isn't identifiable via his IP address, but police look at other clues. And that's just what they did in this and many other cases that involve criminal behavior using open WiFi.