60 year old Wanda Podgurski apparently thought she had it made. After claiming a fake injury in her home and collecting money from no less than seven insurance companies, she skipped town in the middle of her insurance fraud trial and headed for the hills. She vanished into that dark night, forfeiting $500,000 bail in the process. The fact that the judge in the trial sentenced her to 20 years in prison in absentia was almost moot. She was, as they say, “in the wind”. Histoire. Hasta la Bye Bye.
For five glorious months, she was free and clear, with authorities clueless to her whereabouts. Well, not entirely clueless. You see, our miscreant fraudster couldn't resist taunting them with her Twitter account. While on the lamb, she sent no less than 10 tweets, including statements like “help find me before I con anyone else” and, my personal favorite, “Catch me if you can”.
Turns out they could. And they did; based on electronic Twitter bread crumbs that led them right to her. You see, Twitter has geo-tagging capabilities supported by many mobile devices using Location Services. If you don't turn it off, it carries specific GPS info with every sweet tweet you complete.
What a dumbass.
On July 4th, in what can only be considered an ironic “removal of Independence”, day for her, a Fugitive Task Force found her in a retirement resort in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, just south of San Diego, from whence she came. Turns out she didn't go that far at all. She wasn't in the wind so much as she was sitting around passing it, apparently. Her hot air cooled rather quickly I would presume.
She certainly was capable of more exotic locales. She is an experienced traveler – in fact that is one thing that tipped investigators to her fraudulent activities to begin with. The Los Angeles Times reported investigators discovered that she traveled to the Dominican Republic, New York, Seattle, Boston and other locations during the time she claimed to be completely disabled and in need of in home care. For all we know there is a Youtube video of her skydiving or bungee jumping during those trips. Certainly would be an action that fits in her wheelhouse. But, while we delight in the glorious schadenfreude that Ms. Podgurski provides us, we recognize that this is the smaller part of this story.
Ultimately, this story is a huge boon for stupid people everywhere. Ms. Podgurski is a barrier breaker, shattering the myth that the Twittersphere is merely an electronic resort for the cranially gifted. No longer will Twitter be reserved for the uber intelligentsia; a restricted playground for those who have benefitted unfairly in the realm of intellectual distribution. No, it will now be a communication vehicle for the great unwashed, the ignorant masses of our time.
Get ready, Twitter. If you thought intellectually gifted persons could cram an elegantly entertaining tale into 140 character increments, you haven't seen anything yet. Just wait till Bubba meets tweet street. It makes complete sense, when you think about it. Twitter is ideal for people who cannot spell or those who are incapable of using vowels when they write. Thank you, Wanda. This changes everything, indeed.