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Googling For Prospective Date Unmasks Fugitive 381

Posted by simoniker
from the a-different-name-would-be-good dept.
pgrote writes "So you're a guy on the run - you decide to switch towns, put down some roots and start dating again. But if your special new friend happens to be someone who checks her potential dates by searching on Google, you're in trouble. Seems that LaShawn Pettus-Brown was caught by his date's discovery of him on an FBI site of fugitives, even after local Cincinnati news media couldn't find him. Score one for the Internet."
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Googling For Prospective Date Unmasks Fugitive

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  • phew!!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:31AM (#8120664)
    Wow. That's even worse than finding your wifes picture on a dating site!!!
  • by nmoog (701216) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:31AM (#8120667) Homepage Journal
    ...that I post to slashdot. Oh dear.
    • Well, chances are that unless she, herlelf, is a geek, she won't know what slashdot is.

      Then again, you might get the "Oh so you're the guy I modded '-1 offtopic' last week" treatment.

      Tiggs
  • rofl! (Score:5, Funny)

    by f13nd (555737) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:31AM (#8120668) Homepage
    owned by a geek-chick
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:32AM (#8120671) Homepage Journal

    1980: Do you have Herpes?

    1986: Do you have AIDS?

    1995: I have pepper spray.

    2004: I have Google.

    Oh well.. at least RealDolls [realdoll.com] can't use search engines.. yet..
    • by thdougherty (633759) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:33AM (#8120682)
      Oh if only I knew of RealDolls before I got married...

      They're so lifelike!!!
    • by Dukael_Mikakis (686324) <andrewfoerster.gmail@com> on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:10AM (#8120917)
      I guess it's just a sign of the times. Previously, it seems that nobody had to worry about diseases and a criminal history and everything (well, diseases because we didn't know many of them existed), but this is certainly because people wouldn't travel as much and tended to know their dates for a long time before they began dating.

      Now, people are dating others whom they haven't even met, and who might be only telling lies to them, so clearly there's a need for this.

      It's like an incorporation of romance and love. If you're running a small business or a small store, you will very likely know your customers (and employees) very well and be able to trust them without too many problems, but when business scale up and become increasingly large, there's no way that you can account for all of the people, or know them personally, and so there's record-keeping and spying and every such thing.

      Obviously with online (or more anonymous) dating you have access to so many more potential mates, which improves selection and makes things somewhat easier, but all the anonymity and deception makes me wonder if this whole trend is actually a good thing or not.

      But all this doesn't affect me. Joining slashdot is like taking a vow of celibacy.
      • by Plugh (27537) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:56AM (#8121132) Homepage
        I'll throw my US$0.02, what the hell. Maybe my story is worth something to somebody:
        Obviously with online (or more anonymous) dating you have access to so many more potential mates, which improves selection and makes things somewhat easier, but all the anonymity and deception makes me wonder whether if this whole trend is actually a good thing or not.

        In my personal experience, it's just like globalization and open markets: real scary if you are engaged in deception, and absolutely fantastic if you want lots of choice.

        A few years ago, in my early thirties, I decided it was finally time to find a wife. I was (finally) ready to commit. My parents urged me to "shop around". So I did, using means an admittedly very shy geek can do: online sites (ie, match.com) and personal-intro services (ie, Table For Six).

        To make a long story short, I met a lot more women in a few months than I had in the previous 10 years, despite my introverted nature. After dating a few of them, I wound up marrying a very nice woman. And -- please forgive me, I cannot resist saying this -- she's a stunning blonde, tall, gorgeous, busty, and has a degree in mathematics. Ca-Ching!

        Probably I shouldn't post this and probably most people will assume I'm an ad-bot, but the 2 or 3 people who know me that read slashdot know I'm on the level.

        Anyway, I'm all for improving selection and making things easier. Go for it. If you're introverted like myself, it could be the difference between passing along your genes or not! Hell, we desperately need smart people to procreate...

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Can you please show off and post a picture of your wife? I think you should be less introverted and be proud of the great person she is. Thanks.

          P.S. Don't forget the picture. Thanks.
        • please forgive me, I cannot resist saying this -- she's a stunning blonde, tall, gorgeous, busty, and has a degree in mathematics. Ca-Ching!

          I have a good friend who insists HIS woman is a gorgeous busty blonde with a comp-sci degree. She certainly has a degree, and she is certainly a BIT blonde.... and so long as HE thinks shes gorgeous he's happy. In fact - she's rough as hell. Bung her onto hotornot and test your taste! Anything less than an 8.9 and your deluding yourself and should trade up!
      • by LittleGuy (267282) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @08:27AM (#8122538)
        Now, people are dating others whom they haven't even met, and who might be only telling lies to them, so clearly there's a need for this.

        This has been going on since at least the mid-16th Century [tudorhistory.org], complete with their version of Photoshop [englishhistory.net].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:32AM (#8120672)
    Man, I bet this guy is wishing his parents had given him a more common name than "LaShawn Pettus-Brown"...
  • IQ test (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lurkingrue (521019) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:32AM (#8120678)
    OK -- now how stupid is a fugitive for giving his real name to anyone?
    • Re:IQ test (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sirsnork (530512)
      Espcially when you're 6 foot 7.. how many people would there be in the world that have that name and are that tall
    • Re:IQ test (Score:5, Informative)

      by rosie_bhjp (40538) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:45AM (#8120773) Homepage
      Even more stupid is the City of Cincinnati. They gave this guy $180k+ in loans without doing so much as a background check. A brief background is here [enquirer.com]. As a citizen of Cincinnati, I've been following this case and I am absolutely dumbfounded at the ineptness of all the people involved. It really is mind-boggling. They were so concerned about cutting through the bureaucratic red tape they forgot the red tape was there for a reason.
      • by ckd (72611)
        Even more stupid is the City of Cincinnati.

        Cincinnati's had issues for a while. In 1977 they elected a new mayor--Jerry Springer.

        This was after he'd resigned from the city council after being caught up in a vice investigation...hint, don't pay prostitutes with checks.

        • This is very true and word was the check BOUNCED!

          However, afaik that was the only scandal involving Jerry which is actually pretty damn good considering the luck folks have had with their mayor in this town.

        • Jerry was a great mayor. He did a good job, and those that have come since have had no where near the success that he had. (okay, so the check thing was stupid, but hey... who cares?)

          In regards to the whole story, the thing with this theatre has been a black eye for Cincinnati for quite some time, and finding this fugitive will not solve the problems.

          I just happened to drive past there tonight, doesn't matter how cold it is, there are still people out on the sidewalk in front of it selling god knows what.
          • Re:IQ test (Score:5, Informative)

            by HoldenCaulfield (25660) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:31AM (#8121033) Journal
            The theater thing is a black eye, but man, did it have potential. The movie Traffic [imdb.com] was set in Cinci, and supposedly the scenes where she's walking down the street to get some cocaine or what not were filmed on Vine. The part of Vine where the theater is located is the kind of street where you'll have cars crawling along, crowds on the sides of the street, and people yelling out "what you need? what you need?" as you drive on by. I've never had any one actually approach my vehicle with a bucket of dirty water and a rag, but that's the kind of feeling it has.

            It's an area that could really use some development, besides the stores selling gold chains, caps, and clothing with wrought iron grates in their windows and doors. The theater was pitched as a venue that would start the revitalization process and bring more business to that part of town. (Sort of like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the new baseball stadium helped downtown Cleveland.)

            Maybe I just bought into Brown's hype, but I really did think there was potential - the building is a classic old theater, that still has it's marquee outfront. I could have seen it becoming a nice concert venue - I think because of the large marquee outfront, I always envisoned it becoming something like the Aragon Ballroom [urban-history.org] in Chicago.

            Of course, it could have ended up like Bogarts and Short Vine, but I'd say that's much better than the feeling one has driving down Vine . . .
      • Re:IQ test (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ironica (124657)
        They were so concerned about cutting through the bureaucratic red tape they forgot the red tape was there for a reason.

        People always forget this. Usually, about the time they start going off about how government should work more like private enterprise, so it can be more "efficient." Trouble is, the government is seen by too many people as a set of deep pockets with disinterested shareholders (yeah, that's you and me, folks). So the tape isn't just there because it's pretty (after all, if that were the
    • Re:IQ test (Score:5, Funny)

      by eric2hill (33085) <ericNO@SPAMijack.net> on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:46AM (#8120781) Homepage
      I called our phone company at work and asked if they sold Caller IQ because, as I explained, there are many idiots at our office and I would like to screen my callers based on their IQ. The sales person didn't have it available yet. Dammit.
  • by nizo (81281) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:33AM (#8120679) Homepage Journal
    If your potential date discovers you sell penis enlargement items on the internet for a living, will that help or hurt your chances?

  • That's why you know it's best not to date.

  • Hrm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iswm (727826) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:33AM (#8120681) Homepage
    I would think getting your name changed would help quite a bit. Seems kind of silly to post your real name in the google personals if you're wanted by the FBI.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:33AM (#8120683)
    That's just someone with my name... and my picture... and my fingerprints.
  • by Complicity (30481) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:35AM (#8120695)
    ...was caught by his date's discovery of him on an FBI site of fugitives...
    Hmmm, I wonder how many people use the FBI Fugitive List in order to find potential dates...
    • Hmmm, I wonder how many people use the FBI Fugitive List in order to find potential dates...

      i would.
      but for some strange reason my last copy of the fugitive list didn't have any phone numbers or adresses with the pictures...

  • Don't register LaShawnPettusBrown.com for your blog, unless you want to evade the Cincy cops.

  • Wow, this should start a minor surge in traffic...

    I wonder if they are planning to capitalize on it, maybe a reference service like Froogle, but for dating.

    Can Scroogol [google.com] be far off ???
  • ...and finds that I hang out on Slashdot most of the time, and also on techie forums and mailing lists. Poof! There goes all my chances.

  • by TekZen (611640) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:37AM (#8120711) Homepage Journal
    When I was in the market for my first house (9 months ago), I thought I had found the perfect house.

    Then I searched Google for the address and learned that the previous owner had died in the house.

    He was in the attic working on the electrical when a small fire broke out. He got the fire out but died from the smoke.

    His father was selling the house.

    It was all a little too much for me.

    -Jackson
    • Suprised it wasnt disclosed.

      MANY states require sellers to disclose things like that
    • So did my neighbor. He had just graduated High School and wanted to buy a car. He and his dad found one listed in the local paper and went to check it out. His dad noticed the car had been repainted recently with a different color when he looked inside the doorframes. The seller said it was because of "hail damage" but my friend and his dad didn't buy the story (or the car). The checked the VIN on the Internet and found that the seller was the father of a man who had killed a couple of girls in the are
    • by wass (72082) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:51AM (#8120811)
      If you're not superstitious or spooked by that sort of stuff, it's a great way to get a cheap house. This girl I know just bought a rowhouse at about half the market value because the previous owner hung himself. The fact wasn't announced, but she happened to ask the listing agent why the price was so low, so they were required to answer.

      The awkward thing is that one one of her friends, while helping her move in, took a swig from the 7-Up bottle in the fridge. Turns out that bottle of 7-Up was part of the dead former owner's last meal.

      • by AvantLegion (595806) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:26AM (#8121011) Journal
        If you're not superstitious or spooked by that sort of stuff, it's a great way to get a cheap house.

        Not to mention the Coolest House Evar.

        Charge goths and New Age geeks to hold seances there every Thursday night. Pretty soon, the already-cheap house will pay itself off!

        Built-in excuse to keep away unwanted guests! "No, mother of my wife, I don't think you should stay, because our house reeks of death."

        Great for scaring children and keeping them out of the flower beds! "Yes Billy, the owner of the house before the Johnsons really did die in there".

        The possibilities are endless. There need to be real estate websites with these sort of listings! Heck, when the next Dot-Com era comes, I'll start one!

  • Double edge sword (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cybermint (255744) * on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:37AM (#8120718)
    The internet has great power, indeed. But this power is not without detriment, namely to privacy. While I may sleep a little better knowing a fugative has been brought to justice, I am also worried about how my own personal information may be widely available to those who would use it maliciously. Not trying to make any conclusions here; just food for thought.
    • Re:Double edge sword (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ironica (124657)
      While I may sleep a little better knowing a fugative has been brought to justice, I am also worried about how my own personal information may be widely available to those who would use it maliciously.

      But, generally speaking, you can control what gets out on the internet about you.

      I just did a search on all three of my names (Yes, on my second husband at the tender age of 30). For my original name, there's exactly ONE hit... not surprising since I used my parents' last names hyphenated together, and one
  • Not the brightest fella, is he? Or did his date also ask for 6 points of ID?
  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:41AM (#8120742)
    Only a moron would use his real name when he's on the lam. I can go to several locations in my city and come away with an authentic-looking drivers's license, social security card, whatever. Hell, I can even get a Mexican Matricula Consular card, even though you can read in the dark by my skin color. This woman deserves a reward for removing this guy's genes from the pool, even if temporarily.
  • I live in Cincinnati. Keep in mind that Jerry Springer was once mayor of this city.

    I tell people, "Cincinnati is a nice town, but it's like you died and woke up in Republican heaven."

  • I guess I'm safe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:41AM (#8120747) Homepage Journal
    I used to be the top result from google, but now it's some tennis player. I'm on the first page, but it's not my homepage, just something I posted to a PHP mailing list a thousand years ago.

    Seriously tho, anybody who dates somebody off the internet without at least having a go at googling their name, is nearly as stupid as anybody who's got an outstanding arrest warrant and gives out their real name.
  • Got nothing on me! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by adept256 (732470)
    You should all try your own names.

    I tried googling on my name and I got no hits... I guess I avoid using my real name on the 'net most of the time ;)

  • Especially as a gerund !

    Contrary to popular [google.com] belief, Google is not supposed to be a verb [wikipedia.org]

    Google decidedly does not approve. [slashdot.org]
  • damn (Score:3, Funny)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:43AM (#8120759) Homepage
    Oh, damn. Here I was, thinking google was starting a new dating service - called Fugitive. :)

    It'd probably be immensely popular. "Check to see if this man is a fugitive? Yes | No"
  • by SysKoll (48967) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:43AM (#8120761)
    From the article: The city lost more than $184,000 on the project after investing heavily in Pettus-Brown's failed plan to rehabilitate the 90-year-old theater on Vine Street. The FBI has said that nearly $93,000 of the money the city paid Pettus-Brown is missing.

    So the guy steals about 100K and invites a date to freaking Applebee?! EIther he's really a cheap bastard or he already spent it all.

    Men these days. You cannot even get a French restaurant date out of a rich thief anymore.

    • He's a scam artist, word was he 'borrowed' from his family just before he skipped town. I'm wondering if he got himself in a jam with owing somebody money or something.
  • by artemis67 (93453) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:44AM (#8120767)
    Hmmm... could be interesting... lemesee...

    +blonde +thirtysomething +"blue eyes" -kids +"36 24 36" -smoker +5'11" +model +"into geeky guys"

    Wha? Zero results?
    • by utahjazz (177190) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:33AM (#8121044)
      Afer triimming this down to "+blonde, +"blue eyes" - kids - smoker +model +"into geeky guys", Google said:

      Do you mean "+blonde, +"blue eyes" - kids - smoker +modell +"Greek guys"?

      My God that's dissapointing, Damn racist computer program engine favors some crappy island over it's own maker.

      I think Captian Kirk had something to say on the subject. Can't...find...link....

  • LaShawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:44AM (#8120771)
    This is a little offtopic, and a trifle condescending, but do we care enough about children not to give them asinine names?
    How many Trawandas, DeLeroys, and Yasomethins do we need?
    When you're thinking about naming your twins Orangello and Lemonjello , you should first consider whether or not sharing your genetic information is wise.
    True, sex feels great, but consider the ascetic pleasure of knowing that you chose not to pass on a taste for absurd names to your progeny. Europe is clearly leading in this area.
    I don't know if this is becasue the women are just too chic to consider motherhood, the men are too busy planting their seed where it cannot grow, or they are simply given to better taste.
    Regardless, please do us all a favor and get a proper book of names, and don't give a child a name that is going to raise hackles for their whole life.
    There are far better ways to express individuality than naming a poor infant LeDeZeppelin.
    Thank you for your attention.
    FINEX RANTEX
    • Re:LaShawn (Score:3, Interesting)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
      Insightful? Balls

      How would it be different if he had been named Shawn Brown, instead of LaShawn Petus-Brown? He'd still be 'wanted', there would still be numerous news articles about him, including his picture, and she still might have called the FBI to check him out.
      The only difference is that there would have been more hits on that name.

      When I was a little kid, a little girl named Emma would have been snickered at. That was an 'old lady' name. Today, that's a very common girls name.

      Times change. Na
    • Re:LaShawn (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ironica (124657)
      Regardless, please do us all a favor and get a proper book of names, and don't give a child a name that is going to raise hackles for their whole life.
      There are far better ways to express individuality than naming a poor infant LeDeZeppelin.


      Have you taken a look at a baby name book lately? They're full of all kinds of crappy names that will turn a reasonable set of DNA into a watchtower-dwelling rifle toter.

      The Social Security Administration's web site has a pretty neat feature... for the last 12 years,
    • Re:LaShawn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poot_rootbeer (188613)
      This is a little offtopic, and a trifle condescending, but do we care enough about children not to give them asinine names?
      How many Trawandas, DeLeroys, and Yasomethins do we need?


      How are those any different from Steven, Michael, or John -- other than that they don't come from your particular cultural background?

      As Frank Zappa once said about his children--whom he named Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emukkha, and Diva Muffin--"it's the last name that gets them in trouble".
  • by saskboy (600063)
    If you are going to commit a serious crime these days, you'd better make darn sure that you know your way around a computer before using one on the Internet. The trails that we leave are beyond most people's comprehensions, and I would hate to think what could be done to me or any other ordinary person if someone set their mind to mischief.
  • suggests that you not use your real name when you are on the run from the FBI. It might also be a good idea to steal more than $180k--that won't let you live it up for long in NYC.
  • by Karplusan (731780) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @12:49AM (#8120806)
    Hmmm, so if girls check google on their guys... Say, how does one go about getting their webpage put in the top of Google? I was thinking of trying to register http://www.heisthebest.com/ and of course, put my name all over it. I see no flaws in my plan.
  • I suspect in a Swiss Bank account. If he had that money on him he could have easily created a fake ID and fake name and started over again. Lucky he was not smart enough to do that and used his real name and got caught.

    Wake up Orion, the Google has you! :)
  • by jaymzter (452402) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:01AM (#8120878) Homepage
    If you have a common enough name and **aren't** on the lam you might be okay. Just make sure she doesn't know your l337 /. name or you're dead!
    ...Oh shit, you're all heading for Google now...
  • D00D gO+ pWnED 8y @ Ch1Ck!!!
  • I use this moniker or a derivitive of it almost everywhere on line :) Gets me into some cool conversations like "how much of that $100k you got left" or "did you pack your own parachute?"...mostly from people in the Pacific NW.

    I do a Google for my real name, and it comes up with nothing even close - of course there are 21,300 hits when I use quotes!

  • **retracts photo posted on HotorNot.com [hotornot.com]**
  • Yes, like the internet has been a little known under achiever as of late....

    On a side note, I found my Sweetie on a date site. Of course, I also confirmed everything she said by google, an address search and other means to verify I wasn't being outright lied to. I mean it's only common sense. Lord knows you have enough guys in chat rooms masquerading as women, so why take the chance of meeting them in IRL? We won't even get into extortionary prostitutes and crap...
  • by Indy1 (99447) <spamtrap@fuckedregime.com> on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:15AM (#8120942) Homepage
    you'll see him at http://www.writeaprisoner.com/
  • by John_McKee (100458) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:26AM (#8121006) Homepage
    After having some suspicions about a neighbor, I too decided to run her though Google. The search brought up this Article http://groups.google.com/groups?q=Katherine+Saddle r&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&selm=199808 1213325800.JAA00250%40ladder01.news.aol.com&rnum=1 (Her name is Katherine Sadler), the relevent part being

    "Another accused hooker, Katherine Saddler, 35, answered the phone at Sunnymede.

    "When we have something to say, we'll say it," said Saddler, who was also
    charged with possession of nine bags of heroin. "

    Yep, that was my neighbor. A few more searches resulted in two open arrest warrents for her in NJ, time spent in prison, and several other convictions of assult and death threats. So the moral of the story is, if you have suspicions, it doesn't hurt to take 1 minute to run a quick google search.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @01:29AM (#8121024)
    My girlfriend did a search on my name on google, and on the first 3 hits she found some page out of a BBS where some of my co-workers were slagging me off. Needless to say I will be calling them by their internet handles at work from now on.
  • by humankind (704050) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @03:27AM (#8121502) Journal
    If you really want to get freaked out here's where you can check out what kind of neighbors you have [fbi.gov].
  • by Mantrid (250133) on Thursday January 29, 2004 @09:06AM (#8122722) Journal
    When I met my wife (via the internet, although we met IRL within a week), and realized that it would be a serious relationship I got a bit worried...you see one time one of my friends (and I think I might know who...) thought it'd be funny to post in my name on some pot growing site....okay so it would've been funny - but one day while googling for my own name - well let's just say that's how I discovered their joke!

    So I told my wife-to-be right away, and she thought it was funny also....still I have to wonder who else I know that might just google my name! >:(
  • by adzoox (615327) * on Thursday January 29, 2004 @10:29AM (#8123218) Journal
    I often google problematic eBayers and scammers email addresses - I would say 1/2 the time I get good results and 1 in 10 I get VERY interesting results.

    For instance - one time I had an eBayer email me telling me I should be ashamed for selling a Bang & Olufsen turntable at the price I was selling it at. Turns out - it was HIS that he sold to someone in Charlotte (nearby) - they in turn sold it to a Pawn Shop - I bought it for a deal (under $100) - come to find out - he only got $35 for it on eBay - he had left negative feedback for the buyer because the buyer made him sell it to him (he didn't have a reserve. To make a long story longer - It turns out he starts harassing my bidders, telling them not to buy from me. I google and find something similar to this with his email address attached.

    Gay male looking in Colorado (Denver Area) for discreet meetings - no kinky stuff but very adventurous. Since he had bid in my auction (fraudulently) I instantly ended the auction and made him the winner by cancelling other bids. I threatened to post the information to several websites and his feedback. I never heard from him again.

    I have ALWAYS googled anyone's email address before I met them from match.com - although usually a girl's email address won't show up with any results.

    I occasionally google my email address and always get new stuff - usually 4-5 of my slashdot replies show up.

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