A man exacted hilarious revenge on an alleged thief who tried to steal his van – by hacking into his Facebook profile and shaming him with the phone the hapless would-be criminal left inside the vehicle.
The man’s partner was woken to the sound of the thief forcing the door of the silver Vauxhall Vivaro in the early hours of May 18 outside their home in Newton Heath, Manchester – and claims the bungling burglar dropped his phone while fleeing from the scene on foot.
Instead of phoning the police, the 40-year-old tradesman, who has asked to remain anonymous, logged into the would-be thief's Facebook profile on the Samsung Galaxy A3 phone and posted a series of hilarious statuses and memes naming and shaming him.
The dad of four is now auctioning the thief’s Facebook account as a prize at random to people who donate to a fundraiser for Manchester Children’s Hospital, which he hopes will raise £1,000 (A$1868).
“The guy forced the van door and woke my missus up,” he said.
“I knew we wouldn’t be able to catch him in time, but I can’t believe he was silly enough to leave his phone with all his social media on it in the van.
“He even had a photo of his driving licence left on his phone, so he was easy to identify – it was too good to be true.”
The dad said he thought the best way to teach him a lesson would be to name and shame him on Facebook.
“I was going to ask the guy to apologise live on Facebook and I would forgive him if he did that,” he said.
“But it was obvious he wasn’t going to and this is a bit of justice in a fun way.
“I’ve just been laughing constantly at the memes and posts that people have been putting on the profile.
“Whatever comes out of this, I hope he will have learnt his lesson.”
The dad thinks the hapless thief was using his phone as a torch to help him carry out the theft.
Initially, he was going to report the crime to Greater Manchester Police but opted for a more creative form of justice because he didn’t want to waste their time.
In a run of posts, he made fun of the alleged thief's glitchy Samsung Galaxy phone.
Other people joined in creating hilarious memes themselves, with one user imposing the alleged thief into a poster for hit 90s comedy sequel ‘Dumb and Dumber To’.
The burglar temporarily got back into his Facebook account on another device and deleted some of the posts but was bumped out again for good after the man changed his password.
He claims the alleged thief is notorious in the area and has previously been driven out of several other boroughs in north Manchester for his habit of stealing things.
Sadly, it’s not the first time criminals have tried to take his van and just two months ago he had $5,600 worth of tools stolen from the vehicle.
“Vans are quite easy to get in if you know what you’re doing,” the tradesman said.
“We call where we live ‘bandit country’ so we’re used to it.
“Now, I’m auctioning his account in aid of Manchester Children’s Hospital.
“I’ve got kids myself and if they were ever ill that’s where I’d take them.
“I’m aiming to raise £1,000 and I’m going to randomly select the winner from all the people who donate to the fundraiser.”
– With Mercury Press and Media
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.