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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 1:13am

    Re:

    Kunal, have you preformed a vanity internet search lately for your name? There may be a place with free room and board waiting on you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Beech, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 2:13am

    "allegedly peeled off a couple of caps after an argument at a party"

    Taking people's hats off is a crime that gets you on the Most Wanted list now?! Man, EVERYTHING is illegal!



    (j/k)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 2:42am

    Well, I thought I would try that search. I found there are at least a 100 of me, I live in various places from SC to Texas with lots of places in between. My job is an actor, a real estate agent, a funeral home director, a lawyer.

    Strangely none of them seem to be the actual me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 3:50am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 5:48am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    The Old Man in The Sea, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    Done the same at various times. What amazes me though is how often we are in the same field (the majority) though there there is a military man or two.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 8th, 2014 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re:

    There's been a number of interesting studies showing that there is a correlation between names and occupations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Michael, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 7:09am

    "allegedly peeled off a couple of caps after an argument at a party"

    I'm assuming that he landed on the Northern California Most Wanted list because there was some illegally downloaded music at that party.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 8:05am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 8th, 2014 @ 8:39am

    Wait...

    "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."

    Wait, is this article going to be about the RIAA or the NSA? No time to read, just throw me the acronym and I'll put the rest together.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    wto605 (profile), Apr 8th, 2014 @ 10:57am

    Poor guy...

    He just wanted a nice quiet night googling himself, instead he sees this and the mood is ruined.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 11:17am

    Likely reads Techdirt

    As an avid Techdirt reader he knew having a warrant for a gun violation is likely to result in some steroid pumping cops peeling off a couple caps in his ass when he gets pulled over for speeding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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