HARTFORD, Conn. — In a nod to the power of social media, a Connecticut police department accepted a challenge from a suspect who vowed to turn himself in if they get 15,000 “likes” on his online wanted poster.
Jose Simms, 29, is wanted for failure to appear in court, Torrington, Conn., police said. He said he’d turn himself in if police got 20,000 “likes,” but police wanted the number at 10,000. Both sides compromised, and the challenge was on.
“It will be difficult but is doable,” Lt. Brett Johnson, the midnight supervisor, posted on Facebook about 3 a.m.
“So please, ‘like’ this post, and while you’re at it share it, Tweet it, Instagram it, Snapchat it.”
In reference to Kristopher Waananen, 36, who also is wanted for failing to show up in court, Johnson wrote: “Then again, if you know where either of these guys are, you could always let us know that too, it’d save everyone from the suspense of the 15K.”
Police believe Simms is in New York.
According to court records, a Jose H. Simms born in 1989 has six cases in Torrington court after his arrests on charges ranging from breach of peace to violation of a protective order and risk of injury to a minor. Two of his arrests were for making a false statement and falsely reporting an incident, the records show.
At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the police department’s Facebook post had more than 1,500 responses — most of which were “likes” — along with 67 comments, and the post had been shared on Facebook 426 times. By 4 p.m., there were more than 8,500 responses, more than five times as many, and more than 330 comments. The post had been shared about 2,300 times.
Simms himself responded to the post Wednesday morning, noting that the police only had 1,200 responses at that point. He taunted them, saying, “ … only 13,800 more ‘likes’ to go nice job Torrington.”
He also indicated he was not happy with the mug shot police posted on Facebook, calling it a “trash pick.”
The police response?
“Jose, it’s the only one we had … hopefully we will get a ‘good’ one soon.”