A Weymouth, Ma., man's alleged online quest for a coke-fueled sexfest and a Marblehead, Ma. man's admission he raped a woman and posted photos of the assault on Facebook — two drastically different but similarly bizarre cases — are underscoring the value of social media as a trove of evidence and an invaluable aid for enterprising detectives, reports the Boston Herald. “The crooks use it for one reason, and we use it for a different reason: to identify them and catch them,” said Braintree Police Chief Russell Jenkins, whose cops commonly trawl classified-ad sites to catch prostitutes plying their trade at local hotels. “It's just making use of the tools that are out there. It's a tool in the toolbox.”
Earlier this year, Boston cops busted about a dozen men in “Operation Party Favors,” where cops posed as prostitutes on a social-media site and solicited sex in exchange for drugs. “As prostitution and human trafficking moved online, so did our investigations,” said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley. “You go where the crime trends take you.” Sometimes, suspects' social media over-sharing ends up being their undoing. In Chelsea, police this summer spotted a Facebook photo of a known con holding an automatic weapon, chief Brian Kyes said. When police went to the man's home, they didn't find the automatic, but did find another illegal handgun and charged him accordingly.