Michael Baker, a 20-year-old coal miner of Mayking, Kentucky, was arrested on Monday after he illegally siphoned gas from the tank of a parked police cruiser -- and then posted a photo of the act on Facebook.
In the photo, Baker is crouching by the police car with a red gas can, smiling and flashing his middle finger at the camera. His girlfriend, Joann Sandelin, was snapping the picture.
We was just standing there and thought it would be funny to take a picture and then post it on Facebook, said Baker to WYMT-TV in Hazard, Kentucky. He maintained that the crime was committed in jest.
Sandelin agreed. Yeah, we're sorry, but it was just a joke, she said. I mean, if we was going to steal gas, we wouldn't put it nationwide on Facebook. We don't steal anyway, but we're sorry. Baker himself did not apologize.
I got a little bit of gas, he said. I ain't gonna lie, but not much. I couldn't get much. I tried, but there wasn't much in it.
Jenkins Police Chief Allen Bormes told WYMT-TV that Baker was charged with theft despite his excuses, noting that if he felt emboldened enough to steal from local police, he could be just as likely to steal from other people.
The warrant of arrest, posted by The Smoking Gun, notes that on 3/1/2012 in Letcher County, Kentucky, the above named defendant unlawfully: Committed the offense of Theft by Unlawful Taking 500 when he stole gas from a Jenkins City Police Cruiser with the intent to deprive them thereof valued at less than $500. Defendant posted a picture of his theft on facebook.
Baker spent one night behind bars; he is now likely to be fined.
Police had Baker remove the photo from his Facebook page. But upon release from jail on Tuesday, Baker immediately began discussing the incident with friends via posts on his profile, which is open to public view.
Just got out of jail, he wrote. When friends responded in surprise, he explained: Yea lol I just went too jail over facebook.
Did u go to jail over a picture? asked a friend. Yea lol u would just have to see it, said Baker. He explained that he had removed the image from his profile after police asked him to take it down. It was funny as hell tho.
Several of his friends responded, wondering why the photo had to be removed since it was featured on the news anyway.
Idk lol, said Baker. Ppl just got a lil mad.