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Police Use Facebook To Put End To Gang's Crime Spree In Crown Heights

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Fourteen suspected members of a Crown Heights gang dubbed the "Brower Boys" have been indicted in connection with a year-long crime spree after talking about their alleged exploits on Facebook, authorities said Wednesday.

WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reports


The suspects, who range in age from 15 to 19, climbed fire escapes and jumped rooftops to gain access to victims' apartments from April 2011 to March 2012, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

"These Brower bums terrorized their neighborhood for one long year, but now their cycle of crime is over," Hynes said.

Hynes told CBS 2's John Slattery the gang began with just burglaries, but added "the Brower Boys became increasingly brazen in their criminal activity."

Named for nearby Brower Park in Crown Heights, the gang resorted to gunfire and robbery, the district attorney said. Suspect Terry Walley allegedly tangled with a resident he allegedly shot and wounded.

Four other suspects, Christopher Scott, Derrin Dyson, Dezhaun Samuels, and a 13-year-old, allegedly tied up victims in an apartment.

"It is alleged all four sexually assaulted the female victim while still tied behind her back," Hynes said.

Police said it was Dyson and Olurabu Henry who were caught on camera hauling out laptops, cell phones and other stuff to sell.

The 102-count indictment alleges that the suspects stole electronics which they would later pawn.

1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reports


Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said an officer from the 77th Precinct was able to track the suspects on social networking sites.

"He was able to get up on Facebook and 'friend' the members of the Brower gang to such an extent that he was able to track their next move," Kelly said.

Officer Michael Rodriguez said the suspects would get bolder in what they wrote, like the videotaped crime.

"In that instance, they were boasting about making money," Officer Rodriguez said.

Investigators also made video recordings of some of the suspects climbing in and out of apartment windows, up and down fire escapes and running across rooftops, authorities said. The suspects are charged in connection with more than 20 break-ins.

Residents around Brower Park applauded the take-down.

"Well, I'm glad they broke the ring," one person said.

"If they arrested 14, they know what they're doing," another added.

The police commissioner said with social media it becomes a cat-and-mouse game, with some thieves forming codes in hopes of throwing police off their track.

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