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Fugitive tweets 'catch me if you can'; caught

A woman flees to Mexico, perhaps in the belief that she won't be caught there. Her confidence reportedly spills over into a tweet. It is misplaced.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Being a fugitive has its excitements.

Why, I try to run away from myself every day, and that can be quite twisted fun.

However, should you be on the run from the law, the rules of the playground don't quite apply. It's best not to lurch onto your chosen social network and offer a condescending tease.

I mention this because of the tale of former Amtrak employee Wanda Podgurski.

As the LA Times runs away with it, Podgurski, 60, was convicted in January of disability and insurance fraud against seven insurance companies and a government agency. She had, apparently, been pretending to be injured when she was not.

She may not have found the idea of incarceration attractive, as she seems to have run away before she was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

The law finally caught up with her in Rosarito, Mexico, last Thursday. Judging from the comments of San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Podgurski's tweeting (which I'll come to in a minute) didn't help her cause: "The defendant in this case was brazen in both the large-scale fraud she committed and the way she mocked the criminal justice system."

You see, a Twitter account in Podgurski's name had offered a tweet on June 5 that read: "Catch me if you can."

Oddly, Dumanis felt this was directed at her. Might this have redoubled her enthusiasm to catch Podgurski if she could? The Huffington Post reports that Podgurski's social-media information was noted and sent to the Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team.

Podgurski wouldn't even be the first fugitive to offer these words through a social network.

Who can forget the case of Brit Sam Greenwood? He, too, thought it would be amusing to post "Catch me if you can" -- on the police's own Facebook page.

It took police only 12 hours to catch him.

I can understand that in movies criminals often do slightly illogical things that seem to make it easier for them to be caught.

For example, they have the good guy at their mercy and still feel the need to taunt him a little longer before they finally pull the trigger.

This allows the good guy to, say, break his hands free of some rope, or reach for a gun tantalizingly close to his person.

But, dear criminals, those things are scripted. They're not real.

Nothing good can ever come of Facebook and Twitter posts that can only rile.

The whole point of being a fugitive is to not get caught. Now Podgurski might get another two years for her taunting.

In an odd twist, though, her Twitter account is still curiously active.

Tuesday, it offered: "How dumb am I? Who would go to Mexico. So close yet not far at all."

The latest tweets are even more fascinating.

First, there was: "Obviously i am not tweeting from jail...this account has served its purpose...and had nothing to do with my capture."

And then: "My capture was due to the great work of the San Diego District Attorneys Office and the US Marshall's Service."

Who could be responsible for those?

A tweet from July 9. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET