Dubai: There is no such thing as bad publicity. That appears to be the mantra of a wanted fugitive in Connecticut, US, who was willing to turn himself in if his ‘Wanted’ poster received 15,000 likes.
In the odd deal, cut by Connecticut’s City of Torrington Police Department, the fugitive, 29-year-old Jose Simms, contacted the police through Facebook and made the offer.
His initial demand? 20,000 likes. “I said 10,000, he wanted 20,000. We split,” a lieutenant from the department wrote in the Facebook post.
He then urged people to like and share the post, or if they knew the whereabouts of Simms, just to let them know to end the suspense.
Simms has seven warrants out against him after failing to appear in court on a range of charges including the risk of injury to a child, according to media reports.
The Facebook post, which went up on May 22, has so far received 24,000 likes and 26,000 reactions overall. There is still no sign of Simms.
When contacted by reporters through Facebook, the fugitive said that he intended to honour his commitment, calling himself a “man of his word”, according to a report by The Telegraph.
“I wanted to give them a little incentive for all the hard work they put in to catch me … looking over your shoulder every five seconds can cause a lot of stress,” the report quoted him as saying.
While many Facebook users loved the humourous approach adopted by the police department, others found the deal unethical.
Facebook user Jamie Rose Warner wrote: “The fact that you quoted [television show] The Office had me ‘liking’ this post before I even finished it. It’s wonderful knowing Torrington’s police have a great sense of humor!”
Another user, Patricia Giusti Chipko, added: “I love the sense of humor from the Torrington Police Department! Praying that one way or another you meet your objective soon!”
Facebook user Sean Sullivan asked: “Will the surrender be Facebook lived?” to which the police department responded: “No...we have to draw the line somewhere :)”
Other users were less amused. Gina Natalie Manning wrote: “I cannot believe we are helping a criminal get attention, fame, and notoriety for bad behavior. This is [crazy].”
Another Facebook user Terrie Jacklin commented: “City of Torrington Police Department you seriously negotiate with criminals for likes on Facebook? I can’t possibly be this gullible to believe this is not a joke. So I will leave this alone. And NO I am NOT liking it.”