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Convict escapes, then he Facebooks all about it

'On da run,' a burglar's status reads minutes after he breaks custody in Illinois. Several hours of blogging later, he's caught.

March 28, 2010|By John Kass

Reporting from Chicago — Stupid criminals and Facebook don't go together.

Just ask Joseph Luebke, a convicted burglar in state prison.

Luebke, 19, of the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, was just months away from finishing a prison term for burglary at a halfway house. But his feet got itchy, authorities say, so on St. Patrick's Day, he skipped.

Then he Facebooked all about it.

Until then, he'd spent nights sleeping at the halfway house and days working as a telemarketer. On his Facebook page, he described it as "selling rich people vacations. Yeah, it is what u think it is. legit hustle."

He also listed as his interests, "my money, my mob, my life, my family and my FREEDOM."

"Mr. Luebke broke custody at about 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17," Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said.

A mere 18 minutes later, there was a status update on his Facebook page.

"On da run. . ."

The entry amazed some of his 526 Facebook friends.

"Waaaat u better not be," wrote Gina.

"JOOOEEE YOUR SO DUUUMMBBB!!!!!!" Danielle chimed in.

At 8:44 p.m., his mom wrote: "joe call me cuz now I'm freakin out!!!!!!!"

Luebke responded about an hour later: "Ma, i need u to get my property plz. ill get an outfit from u some how."

As he blogged, corrections officialssent an alert about an escaped prisoner. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sent up the county's helicopter and unleashed the canine unit. The U.S. Marshals Service sent out the Fugitive Task Force.

And Luebke's fingers kept blogging.

"its all good imma be fine jusfine don't trip!" he wrote at 9:53 p.m.

On Luebke's Facebook page, he lists that he's a White Sox fan and likes reading John Grisham and Stephen King.

And he uses the phrase "amor de konejo," or "rabbit love" in Spanish -- at least when it's spelled correctly, with a C, as conejo. Gang investigators know it as a slogan for the Two Sixes, a Chicago gang that uses a rabbit head as a symbol.

"im outta the joint for a coupla days to have some freedom for a minute," Luebke wrote. "i cant give locations and its a good chance i get caught but ill holla bakk. im fine."

Investigators said Luebke apparently was fired from his telemarketer job on March 17 and thought he'd be sent back to prison to serve the rest of his six-year sentence. He'd spent just nine months at the medium-security Shawnee prison before graduating to the halfway house. So he ran free.

Later on the night he was blogging, he wrote that he planned to see his mom: "one more visit before i go back. well let you know when. im deleting these posts in an hour!"

That was at 11:43 p.m. And 42 minutes later, authorities said, Luebke was apprehended at a relative's home.

Smith confirmed that he's back in custody. But she would not say whether authorities used the Facebook posts to track him down.

Now Luebke's in the big house at Joliet. That's not nearly as nice as calling rich people on the phone to sell them exotic vacations.

jskass@tribune.com

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