Progress: An Honest Criminal Turns Himself In After Learning He's Wanted Via Vanity Google Search

from the baby-steps dept

You know, we talk a great deal at Techdirt about dumb criminals and how often they are nabbed by the intersection of their own stupidity and technology. It is, frankly, enough to make you wonder about the future of our species, watching these would-be criminal masterminds fumble about social media, YouTube, and the like. I remember the days when criminals had a certain sense of honor. Sure, they did wrong, but they had a certain something to them.

Well, perhaps that breed of criminal isn’t dead yet, judging by Christopher Viatafa, the Palo Alto man who did a vanity Google search for his own name, saw that he was a wanted man, and promptly turned himself in.

Google Christopher Viatafa and with no digging at all you’ll find he’s wanted by San Leandro police. That’s exactly what the 27-year-old Palo Alto man discovered this month. The first result of his search led to the Northern California’s Most Wanted website, where his picture appeared along with the charges he’s facing, authorities said Friday. Accused of doing wrong, authorities said Viatafa then did what was right: He turned himself in to police.

In a world filled with criminals who brazenly use technology to act like jackasses, this is apparently what passes for a breath of fresh air. Viatafa appears to be no saint, having allegedly peeled off a couple of caps after an argument at a party (no injuries/deaths reported), but at least he went to face his charges after finding out just how badly the state wanted him.

So fear not for our future, because some bad guys who shoot guns will apparently use the internet to turn themselves in. Or something. Actually, I’m not sure any of this is really making me feel much better.

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Comments on “Progress: An Honest Criminal Turns Himself In After Learning He's Wanted Via Vanity Google Search”

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Anonymous Coward says:

To be fair, LEO are pretty damn stupid when it comes to being wanted.

I had an arrest warrant against me years back while I was unemployed. I never left home. I learned about it while the company I applied for ran a security check. Went to see the judge the next day to get it sorted. They never even looked for me. Ok granted, I was not a huge criminal and it was all rejected by the judge; all charges dropped but still, they never even looked at my home, where I was 23 hours a day every day.

I feel so safe.

Anonymous Coward says:

Often times, turning one’s self in is the smart move. Sometimes the warrant is an error, other times, it was issued without the defendant knowing he was even a suspect.
By controlling when he turns himself in, he can reduce any waiting time in jail. Monday morning where there is a afternoon hearing rather than Friday afternoon and sitting inside all weekend.
A judge is more likely to set a lower bail for someone who turns himself in. It also gives him the opportunity to get the money together for a bond to be posted immediately.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Agreed, controlling the circumstances is a huge win here

This is especially true for a case like this where the warrant alleges illegal use of a firearm. It seems like the police were not that interested in finding him if he did not even know he was wanted. On the other hand, given the growing love of paramilitary raids for everything, it would not have surprised me if he was also on a waiting list for his shot at getting hit by a pre-dawn raid. Surrendering now not only lets him put his affairs in a holding pattern prior to arrest, but denies the police the chance to have him “shot during a raid,” their chance to kill his dogs, wreck his house, etc.

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