By Alexandria Hoff
WINSLOW Twp., NJ (CBS) – Watch what you post online.
A South Jersey man found out the hard way after police tracked him down after he allegedly posted a picture of a marijuana plant on his Instagram page.
“It’s no different than a police officer walking up to your car and seeing a bag of marijuana on the backseat, or seeing a gun on the backseat. You’ve purposely put this stuff out there,” says Rob D’Ovido, of Drexel University Criminology and Justice Science.
In one case, that “stuff” was allegedly five marijuana plants.
Earlier this month, authorities say tip came in that a small growing operation was taking place in the backyard of a vacant Winslow Township home.
Surveillance footage helped identify a suspect and police say “he put pictures of his grow on Instagram.”
What the 20-year-old suspect may not have realized is unlike Facebook, apps like Instagram and Twitter under standard settings will store metadata, which can then reveal where a photo was taken.
Captain John Leahey says, “The actual address came right up on the screen, which made it very easy for us to track it down.”
If the picture wasn’t indication enough, police say when they arrived at the abandoned property they found the man there right in the middle of cultivating the crop.
The suspect was arrested and neighbors shook their heads.
“Certain pictures circulating can get around pretty fast,” one female said.
A male adds, “I think social media will get them in trouble and I’m glad it does. If they’re going to be that silly to post something illegal, they deserve it.”
The suspect’s alleged Instagram account is now private, but experts say it’s probably not as private as he thinks it is.