FLORENCE, S.C. -- A man wanted by police in Queen Anne's County is now in custody in South Carolina after criticizing the Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Office on its Facebook page, which led to his arrest for parole and probation violations by the sheriff's office and Maryland Division of Parole on Monday, June 10.
Colby Gilliam, 33, a former resident of Centreville, may have thought he was being helpful in pointing out factual errors in a Facebook post about a worker who was struck by a falling paint can on Tuesday, June 4, on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge.
"A worker fell while working on the Westbound Span of the Bay Bridge. A High Angle Rescue Team is en route.Two lanes are reported closed and expect delays," the Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook.
Gilliam commented with, "The man is knocked out and on one of the cat walks underneath the road come on qasd get the facts before posting..."
According to Sheriff Gary Hofmann, Gilliam was featured on a recent episode of Queen Anne's County Most Wanted. So Gilliam's name was still fresh in the law officers' minds when the department responded back with, "Thank you Colby By the way we still have a warrant for your arrest Checkout our Most Wanted Page."
According to police, Gilliam is wanted for failing to appear in court on Oct. 10, 2012, for theft charges and for violating his probation.
Gilliam has since deleted his Facebook account and his comment made to the sheriff's office's Facebook page. But not before the post managed to go viral.
According to police spokesman Dale Patrick, as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, the Facebook post was viewed by 130,000 people, reaching as far as Canada, Hong Kong and Australia.
Mixed in with the "lol" and "what an idiot" comments, Facebook users also commented and called in with tips on Gilliam's current location, Hofmann said.
The sheriff's office takes social media very seriously and does its best to review comments from the community, Hofmann said. Even though they cannot respond to every comment, the information still is used to better serve the community.
Based on the tips that were received, the U.S. Marshals were asked to get involved in apprehending Gilliam, police said.
According to police, Operation Intercept, the U.S. Marshal-led fugitive task force in South Carolina, developed information about where Gilliam was working and arrested him at his place of employment without incident.
In the Myrtle Beach area, Operation Intercept consists of members of the U.S. Marshals, Myrtle Beach Police Department, Surfside Police Department, Horry County Sheriff's Office and Horry County Police Department, police said.
According to police, Gilliam was booked into the J. Rueben Long Detention Center to await extradition to Maryland.
Hofmann said to think before you post, and if you are going to communicate with law enforcement through social media, make sure you are not wanted for a crime. He also said if people have a warrant for their arrest, the best thing to do is to get it resolved by the courts, as it is only a matter of time before they are picked up.