Police said to use Facebook to stop punk rock house parties

Using the alias of "Joe Sly," the "Boston Punk Zombie," the Boston Police Department is allegedly sleuthing out illegal DIY indie-rock shows on social media.

E-mail exchange between "Joe Sly" and Spelling Bee band members. Spelling Bee

Police going undercover on social media to catch gangsters and murderers is one thing, but posing as punk rockers to catch bands playing illegal house parties?

That's just what Boston police are allegedly doing, according to Slate.

After a nuisance control ordinance (PDF) passed last year, the city has been working to squelch local punk and indie rock parties featuring loud bands. And to find out where these raucous festivities are taking place -- in order to break them up before they get started -- the police are supposedly sleuthing out party addresses via e-mail and social media.

Acting as fellow punk rockers, the police have allegedly made fake Facebook profiles and also e-mailed various bands asking for directions to parties, according to Slate.

The band Spelling Bee posted on Twitter one suspicious e-mail exchange it had before playing a show at a Boston house party with a guy named "Joe Sly."

"Patty's day is a mad house I am still pissing green beer," Joe Sly wrote. "The cops do break balls something wicked here. What's the address for Saturday Night, love DIY concerts."

The e-mail profile picture for Joe Sly shows a drawing of a 1970's era punk with a green mohawk, spiked leather jacket, and earrings. Scrawled next to the drawing it says "Boston Punk Zombie."

After Spelling Bee's Boston show was broken up and canceled by the police, the e-mail made the joke rounds on Tumblr and Twitter -- where music fans joked at how a real punk would never drink green beer or use the word "concert," (it's a "show").

Despite the allegations that Joe Sly is really the Boston Police Department, it's still unknown who exactly this Boston Punk Zombie is. CNET contacted the BPD for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

Over the past couple of years, police departments across the U.S. have taken to social media to find out more about potential suspects and on-going crimes. Last September, the New York Police Department discovered two gangs using Facebook to threaten, taunt, and grandstand each other -- giving the police evidence to arrest 49 members who are now facing murder charges. According to Slate, a 2012 survey found that roughly 80 percent of law enforcement agencies use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media for their investigations.

 

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