YouTube and Other Social Networking Sites Showcase Criminal Stupidity

Trail of self-posted videos helps law enforcement find and arrest criminals.

by / February 29, 2008

If you read this column regularly, first of all, thank you. You can take pride in the fact that doing so assures your position in the upper echelon of society. Second, you are aware that I've written before about my fear the Internet may permanently retard our collective intelligence.

Following up that notion is a happy and hilarious side effect that can be witnessed today: The Internet, and especially Web videos, has become a showcase for criminals who helpfully make their impending arrest much easier for law enforcement.

An incident involving Rudy Villanueva and Tony Logan, residents of Miami-Dade County, Fla., is a perfect example. Villanueva heads up a rambunctious men's organization - or "gang," if you insist - known as the Bird Road Boys. His associate, Logan, also is allegedly a member. One evening in early January, the two men struck upon an idea, no doubt fueled by various smokeables and beverages served in 40-ounce containers.

The plan was to have Villanueva's girlfriend videotape the men taunting the Metro Dade Gang Unit, daring police to come catch them.

"Metro Dade Gang Unit, here I am, baby," Villanueva advised. Logan followed his pal's comments with a string of expletives, an invitation for cops to "come get it," and closed his commentary with a second helping of obscenities.

To add dramatic effect to the scene, Villanueva held aloft a shotgun in one hand and an AK47 in the other. Meanwhile, Logan waved two handguns, menacingly pointing the weapons at the cameraperson and Villanueva while repeatedly pulling the trigger. The guns evidently were not loaded.

Phase 2 of this cunning stunt involved posting the video to, where else, YouTube. Now even if you've already made up your mind about our main characters, they are due some credit for actually knowing how to post a video to the popular site. It's not as easy as you might think.

Once online, the video quickly drew the interest of - you guessed it - the Metro Dade Gang Unit. After watching the video, officers accepted Logan's offer to "come get it," and the ATF and Miami-Dade Police Department arrested both men. Villanueva, a thrice-convicted felon, was arrested on possession of a firearm by a felon, and Logan was charged with knowingly providing a firearm to a felon.

This incident is but one of a slew of examples of the societal dregs using the Internet to show us just how stupid they are. Of course, people of such caliber would never admit they posted the video out of stupidity - probably because an imbecile rarely realizes he is an imbecile. Crime videos are usually made to earn "street cred," or as Villanueva said, to instill fear in his enemies. (For you geeks, that's like experience points in World of Warcraft, but this is a violent street gang.) Ironically the result was not fear, but laughter from the online community and a job for police made a lot easier. 

Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen is the former editor of FutureStructure.