Thieves Post Photos of Stolen Cars to Instagram, Go to Prison

Mr. Dingers.
Photo: West Yorkshire Police

The number one rule of doing crime successfully is to not tell everyone you did a crime. For example, if one were to, say, be the sole survivor of a 2011 bank robbery gone wrong and subsequent shootout with heavily armed police tactical terms, they might choose a career above suspicion as a humble tech blogger.

Today in criminals who didn’t get the memo, per the BBC: West Yorkshire police busted a gang in Leeds that stole luxury cars and posted photos of themselves to an Instagram using the name “Mr. Dingers,” receiving jail time for their efforts to become criminfluencers. (While the BBC wrote that this is apparently some sort of tiresome British slang for stolen vehicles, Wiktionary suggests it more commonly refers to condoms, penises, anuses, and buttocks.)

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According to the BBC, police say 21-year-old Frankie Allwork posted a selfie alongside a roughly $77,000 stolen Audi A6, with his face hidden by an emoji. Authorities recovered the unedited version of the photo from his phone. Other photos on the Mr. Dingers account included a picture of a roughly $39,000 Seat Leon FR stolen the same night as the Audi.

20-year-old accomplices James Holroyd and Bryn Kerry also posed in photographs posted to the account, the BBC wrote. West Yorkshire Police wrote in a press release that the ring’s bust was just one facet of an investigation into more than $730,000 in car thefts over a period dating years. All work was linked to one of the burglaries via DNA found on a cigarette butt, according to the release, which was found after CCTV footage showed one of the thieves flicking it into bushes. Other evidence pulled from the account included a video of the three driving along to music in the stolen Audi, gaining 33,000 views.

Notorious British tabloid the Sun ran an alarmist profile on the Mr. Dingers account earlier this year, with conservative MP Damien Collins telling the paper it was “appalling” social media sites “will allow people to glorify criminal acts on Instagram and build an audience for people watching it.” Other videos on the Mr. Dingers account showed what appeared to be home break-ins and suspects successfully fleeing police in high-speed chases, according to the Sun (which it bears repeating is not a reliable source). For all the hubbub, though, it appears that all the account did was lead police directly to their suspects.

All three men have pleaded guilty to burglary and/or car theft charges in Leeds Crown Court, as one is wont to do when police have indisputable photographic evidence taken by the suspects themselves, with Allworth admitting to an additional theft of a roughly $129,000 Mercedes in January 2019, the BBC reported. All three have been sentenced to prison with terms ranging from 32 months to four-and-a-half years.

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Tom McKay

"... An upperclassman who had been researching terrorist groups online." - Washington Post