back to article Facebook status bolsters alibi in armed robbery case

A banal Facebook status update has provided an alibi for a 19 year-old New Yorker facing armed robbery charges. Rodney Bradford posted "Where’s my pancakes" from a computer in his father's home in Harlem on the morning of 17 October, at the same time he was suspected of taking part in the robbery at gunpoint of two men at the …


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  1. Gav

    New on Facebook!!

    "Pancakes"! Click here to allow "Pancakes" access to your profile! Once enabled, "Pancakes" will update your status hourly with banal, yet intriguing, messages. You don't have to lift a finger! You don't even need to be online!

    Messages include;

    - "Where's my pancakes?"

    - "I was watching that!"

    - "ZOMG!!! I never wanted a cat before."

    - "It must have been something I ate."

    - "I was looking for that for ages, and it was in my coat pocket all the time."

    - "You make my coffee taste funny"

    - "Last time I did that I was sore for a week."

    - "No really, who took my pancakes?"

    - "Officer Jones has my car now"

    Click here to spam this to all your facebook friends.

  2. Michael 10

    Note to self

    Learn how to use greasemonkey and make myself a script to post random facebook messages and twitters next time I plan to commit a crime

  3. Scott Mckenzie


    If that's all you need as a bonafide alibi - criminals of the world unite.

    Just get a friend to update your Facebook status from somewhere else (with your username and password) and there was no chance you were possibly robbing that bank... officer.

  4. frank ly


    ""This implies a level of criminal genius that you would not expect from a young boy like this. He is not Dr. Evil,"

    Huh? I could have figured this technique out when I was 10. Another good trick is to give your mobile phone to an 'alibi-accomplice' and have them send text messages to your family ('I'll be home in 2 hours, have a meal ready' etc) from a location about 40 miles away from the bank robbery you are involved in.

    There are many more such techniques. I'd better not tell you since it's fun to figure them out for yourself.

  5. Random Noise


    Clever use of RDP could have you 'working on your computer' ("honest Guv, check the IP logs") while committing a crime anywhere you want.

  6. Robajob

    Not guilty of armed robbery perhaps...

    But he should be arrested for crimes against grammar.

  7. PReDiToR

    Great news for anyone who can use a computer

    Now if you can SSH/VPN into a computer you can get away with (probably) murder!

    And as the above poster said, a small shell script could do all the work for you.

  8. Tzael

    Gun, check. Mask, check. Scriopt kiddy, check!

    It's really not that difficult to automate the posting of a status update (or picture, wall post, event, etc) to Facebook so I think this is one defense that won't work twice in most legal systems.

    The guy is probably innocent, but it hardly takes an 'evil genius' to automate the posting of status updates, forum topics, newsgroup postings and other forms of 'interaction' to a number of online resources. I bet a few of you are thinking of your favourite old IRC scripts round about now ;)

  9. Anonymous Coward


    How on earth that holds up as an alibi is beyond me, at 19 I could quite happily have coded an application to send a HTTP POST, given today's tech, I could even have had it remotely controlled by my phone.

    Granted this guy may not be a techie, but I'm sure he knows people who are. I know a few people who'd pay for this service/software now that it's held up in court...

  10. dave 93

    @ Michael

    ...and then delete itself, of course ;-)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh really?!?

    "This implies a level of criminal genius that you would not expect from a young boy like this." So anyone 19 years and under doesn't have the ability to write scripts/program code, hack systems & networks, create malware and/or viruses? Wow, silly me to have thought so....

  12. tuna 1
    Thumb Down

    Watertight Alibi

    Next up:

    "I couldn't have downloaded all that pr0n and those pirated albums, my logs say my account was logged off. You need to talk to 'Administrator', he h4X3d into my computer from the 'tubes."

  13. Pete 2 Silver badge

    criminal genius???

    So giving someone else your username & password is all it takes to become a criminal genius. I suppose the term is relative as where I live, you'd have to have set up a remote desktop to the parents PC and facebooked through that to qualify.

    So, what's next up the ladder from genius? "mastermind, maybe"

  14. Craig 28

    re:watertight allaby

    Read the f***ing article. His parents were witnesses. The facebook evidence is incidental, it just backs up the claim of his parents.

    So no you don't just need to make scripts to post on facebook, you also need to convince your parents to cover for you. Think you can do that easily? "Hi mum and dad, mind telling the police I was over at yours yesterday morning if they ask? Oh no reason..."

  15. ZenCoder

    The alibi is facebook + parents

    His parents say he was there and the facebook post just adds additional credibility to that claim.

  16. mspletz

    You all are missing it!

    Okay, first, he had other alibis besides the facebook entry.

    But ignore all that. Did you read the end of the article?

    "a burglar logged onto Facebook during the ransacking of a Pennsylvania home"

    What? WHAT? How do I change font size for a bigger "WHAT?" Sweet screaming monkeys! Read that again!

    "a burglar logged onto Facebook during the ransacking of a Pennsylvania home"

    Who among us could possibly, possibly even envision the blistering stupidity it would take to break into a house, and when robbing them blind, LOG ONTO FACEBOOK? And then, apparently, LEAVE THE BLOODY MACHINE BEHIND!

    I mean really, not even the BOFH's lusers are that dumb! Well, okay, the boss is. But my God, think about how many standard deviations on the ol' IQ bell curve you'd have to drill down through before you ran into the likes of that.

  17. tuna 1

    Craig 28 "His parents were witnesses. "

    I know plenty of people vouch for their children by lying to police, witnessed it many times. Some couldn't believe their baby could do such a thing, some believe the baby was locked in his/her room and wouldn't think of sneaking out the window after curfew, and some are even co-conspirators.

    But... you are correct, sir. I did not RTFA.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    You lot

    Some of you lot really are a bit thick aren't you? Just because YOU can write an SSH script / set up a cron process / use RDP / configure HTTPD at the age of 19, you wonder why this kid couldn't?

    Read between the lines, for god's sake. This kid's lawyer was trying to be kind in his assessment of his client's capabilities, I imagine. He's a young house burglar for godness sake!

    When you lot were spending your evenings in your bedrooms learning to set up HTTPD, he was more than likely bunking off school to drink white lightning and actually having sex. This kid probably isn't in the top tier academically, and NO, he probably doesn't associate with people who are, either.

    Not to mention that he had other alibis.

  19. Evil Auditor

    Criminal genious

    There are hardly any around. I do not intend to offend any criminals out there (I simply don't care at all whether I offend any criminals) but as a matter of fact almost all criminals are nothing more than brashly impertinent (this holds true for a Nick Leeson or the robbery around the corner, etc. Of course, our beloved BOFH is a refreshing exception). The notion that "there is no such thing as a perfect crime" merely pays attention to the fact that most criminals are retarded (thugtards) and mentally not up to a level where they would be able to plan and commit the "perfect crime".

    While people of average mental ability like you and, er, me may be attracted to some form of crime we generally would explicitly or otherwise do a risk and cost-benefit analysis of our intent. Generally, we would conclude that the costs, allowing for the involved risk, do outweigh the potential benefit. And we would not proceed.

    If you arrive at a different conclusion you either have found a rare opportunity which is indeed worthwhile to seize or you are of somewhat below average capability. It remains with investigation to appraise...


  20. Jay Castle

    RDP wouldn't work because... the time the bastard page loaded, you'd be cuffed in the back of the paddywagon.

    I know, I tried it. Minus the bank robbing etc, of course.....

  21. Stef 4

    @ Craig 28

    "you also need to convince your parents to cover for you. Think you can do that easily? "Hi mum and dad, mind telling the police I was over at yours yesterday morning if they ask? Oh no reason...""

    Erm, yeah, because parents never protect their children do they?

  22. EvilGav 1

    Errr . . .

    . . . it may have been one additional piece of evidence, but the wording itself suggests that, at the precise time, he wasn't in sight of his parents.

    So, go upstairs to room, log on to Facebook, leave script running, climb out window (away from road), do crime, get back home, in through window, eat pancakes.

    Is that really that difficult to work out ?

  23. Craig 12


    Thank you, I thought I was going to have to post that.

  24. MrPatrick


    the FAIL is for all you commentards who have failed at reading. You're all so smart about how you coul SSH from your iPhone to up date your facebook, but you missed a pretty important line here

    "since the accused already had witnesses to provide an alibi"

    Errm - so he was off the hook already.

  25. lglethal Silver badge


    I was thinking the exact same thing! Although the exact line that came to my head was "Jesus, what balls!".

    I mean any time your involved in some form of illegal enterprise (ahh not that i have ever been... honest guv!) you do not decide to take your time and smell the roses so to speak...

    The dude must have balls the size of a watermelon... pity that didnt leave any blood to power his brain...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    But did he...

    Get his pancakes?

    - Tux because I'm hungry and penguins are edible, right? They even sell them in neat little packets.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 13:33

    > But did he get his pancakes?

    Nope, but he did get 1 week free accommodation @ Rikers Island while they checked out his alibi. From his comments (reported by other media outlets), I'm guessing that this ordeal alone has probably had a big impact on his likelihood to commit any serious crimes.

    As for all those suggesting ways to do a Facebook update remotely, I'm surprised no-one has suggested just setting up and using a web proxy - this would mean you could even do the update from a cell phone for a truly mobile alibi.

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