The Brooklyn, NY gang known locally as the TBO, or 'True Bosses Only' gang, was caught for their crimes when police detectives used fake Facebook accounts to monitor the gang members.
Recently, there was a case in which the U.K. police used the Internet to take down a hacker that somehow forgot Google existed. Now police in the New York borough of Brooklyn have taken down an entire gang by using the power of a social media search. The NY City Police along with the Kings County District Attorney, Charles J. Hynes, stated they were able to arrest 41 young men who were all part of the Bushwick, Brooklyn Gang, known as the 'True Bosses Only' or 'Team Bang Out' (TBO) gang.
The Bushwick TBO gang was what police referred to as the most organized and violent street gang they've encountered before. They had a very well-orchestrated hierarchy of members with eight gang members being in charge and referred to as the 'top gangsters'. From the top down, the gang had original gangsters, team leaders, warriors and then bangers, or what police referred to as 'foot soldiers'. The gang was involved in some of the area’s worst crimes and was quickly growing in size. District Attorney Hynes stated that he was a bit amazed how eight middle school aged young men could organize a gang in 2003 and expand it over time to a membership of over 250 gang members, with most gang members being between the ages of 15-22.
The gang members were charged for crimes uncovered from 2010-2012, and with almost every major crime in the book. The crimes included (but not limited to): Attempted murder in the second degree, conspiracy for murder in the first through fourth degree, robbery, assault in the first degree, burglary and so forth.
"Once again we have young gang members using social media to boast about murder and mayhem, and once again we have New York City Police officers ‘friending’ them to help end the violence," said New York City Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly. "When young men plot to take their battles from tweets to the streets, the NYPD wants to be there to stop the bloodshed. The attention is paying off.”
The take down operation was clever and yet very simple. The police created fake Facebook account profiles and then simply 'friended' those suspected of being part of the TBO gang. Police detectives then followed their movements via Facebook and recorded what they were involved in by images and status updates.
The Kings County District Attorney, Charles Hynes stated to the press that the gang members were actually foolish enough to brag on Facebook about what they were doing.
“Gang violence is on the rise. The TBO Gang brought fear to the people of Bushwick, roaming the streets, committing violent crimes. This particular ‘street crew’ is unique, in a way that we have not seen before, in regards to how organized their hierarchy is. We have to take down these gangs and street crews in the early stages before they become organized and more dangerous," said Hynes. "This takedown is yet another reminder to gangs that if you continue your illegal activities, it is not a question of whether you are going to get caught, but when you will get caught."
Image credit: Kings County (NY) District Attorney, Charles Hynes