It’s one thing to get caught for a crime by documenting it on your phone or posting about it on social media, but it’s another when the police then turn those boastful posts into a meme about the makes fun of his own demise.
It’s an Englishman’s harsh downfall when, after he was jailed for a string of serious offenses, Lancashire Police shared his mug shot alongside a selfie he took squeezing stolen banknotes.
Samuel Walmsley was one of more than 14 men sentenced to almost 50 years in prison for a “conspiracy to commit burglary and vehicle theft” in the north-west – including charges related to drug importation and burglary and vehicle theft rings.
And as if the incarceration wasn’t enough to teach the 20-year-old a lesson, police turned the perpetrator into a “how it started and how it’s going” meme to announce his conviction.
The meme featured a screenshot of Walmsley fanning out a wad of bills versus his significantly different mug shot.
The meme starts a thread detailing how the Great Harwood man and three others – Kevin Docherty, Noah Mulligan and Jordan Whittam – were caught after police recovered photos and video from Walmsley’s phone of them exposed their crimes.
In follow-up tweets, police wrote, “It wasn’t too difficult” to catch the perpetrators, who filmed a number of their crimes, including video of them sitting in a vehicle searching cash and bank cards stolen in a burglary , and some even posted to social media.
“In addition to showing a stolen van on Snapchat, capturing items taken in burglaries and describing it as a ‘good night’s work,'” police wrote on Twitter.
Police said the group also “faked” a post on a community Facebook page detailing the suspects breaking into a car. Walmsley filmed the community member’s post and he was heard laughing and saying, “That’s me in the trunk.”
“But something tells us they’re not laughing now,” the police posted.
“These defendants saw fit to film their criminal activities and unabashedly mock hard-working members of society.
“We are here to send a message to anyone committing this type of crime – it will not be tolerated in Lancashire.”
The thread attracted millions of views and thousands of replies, with many dubbing the “wild” post “Tweet of the Year.”
“I only see good police work. Good job,” wrote one.
“DAMN… the police are making fools of people now,” wrote another with a crying emoji.
Some even called for more meme content such as
Someone else wrote in capital letters: “We’d love to see that from Lancashire Police,” while the Kingston Police report said the post was “perfect”.
Some even posted their own versions of the meme, praising the police’s social media savvy.
However, some were less impressed with the thread, calling it “unprofessional” and “disgraceful”.
Legal Style Blog replied, “These kinds of mocking, joking tweets are a disgrace. It’s condescending and insulting to crime victims, it’s unseemly, it’s solemn, and it pretends that police work is all a joke.”
One user wrote: “Cheeky posts like this are unprofessional, blatant and quite childish… Not what you would expect from a 184 year old police force.”
Walmsley was part of a group that committed a series of burglaries and auto thefts. They then recorded their pleasure rides in the stolen vehicles and posted them on Snapchat.
Walmsley was jailed after an investigation was launched in October last year when police officers tried to stop an Audi en route to Great Harwood, a town about 10km outside Blackburn in north-west England.
The car crashed and four people got out; Although two escaped, police arrested Walmsley and co-defendant Noah Mulligan, 22, after seizing a number of tools linked to a burglary.
Officers then searched the home of 20-year-old Jordan Whittam and seized $2,334 worth of cannabis.
Police also confiscated his phone, which contained “messages related to drug dealing” and videos that Whittam or he was recording “involving either himself or his co-defendants in burglaries,” police said in a statement opinion.
Photos and video recovered from Walmsley’s phone “suggest he was involved in the supply of cocaine and cannabis,” and police say he “regularly” photographed himself with “large amounts of money.”
The group was sentenced to a total of almost ten years in prison, and Walmsley was sentenced to two years and four months in prison.
Data from the four men’s phones also led to police charging 12 other men with a range of drug, burglary and theft offences.
Fourteen, including the first four men, were sentenced to prison terms
“These defendants caused great suffering in Great Harwood and the surrounding areas by exploiting some of the most vulnerable members of society out of sheer greed,” Detective Sergeant Stu Peall said in the police statement.
“Some even saw fit to film their criminal activities and brazenly poke fun at hard-working members of society.”
“I hope the outcome of this case sends a strong signal that Lancashire Police have no tolerance for criminal activity of any kind and will bring to justice those who wish to engage in it.”