LONDON - An escaped British prisoner is taunting police and attracting a growing Internet fan base from his Facebook profile, mocking authorities for failing to find him and openly musing about moving across the Atlantic.
But police say the convicted burglar's antics on the popular social networking site haven't gone unnoticed and have appealed to his more than 3,800 Facebook friends to help track him down.
Craig "Lazie" Lynch, 28, escaped from the minimum-security Hollesley Bay Prison near the village of Woodbridge in southern England three months ago. Since then, he's been regularly updating his Facebook page with ungrammatical digs at police, as well as pictures showing him holding a "wanted" sign or making obscene gestures at the camera.
"i aint handin myself in," Lynch wrote in one post Tuesday. "why am i going to do their job for them. What do they get payed for. And does anyone have a cannon, i need firing over the atlantic."
Lynch's Facebook page is clogged with hundreds of messages from well-wishers, although a few occasionally write in to remind fans that they're cheering for a criminal. Police said that Lynch had been serving a seven-year sentence for committing a burglary with a weapon, but did not go into detail.
For his part, Lynch's updates typically centre on what he's eating - pizza was recently on the menu - as well as complaints about the number of messages he gets from all over the world. His profile pictures show him shirtless while holding a well-roasted turkey.
"if any of you was doubtin my freedom. Here's proof," he explains. "How the (expletive) could i get my hands on a bird like this in jail. ha ha."
Lynch's Internet stardom has spawned several fan groups (and some hate groups) as well as customized T-shirts and even a song in Lynch's honour.
Fans have flooded his page with praise for his daring, but Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman Anne-Marie Breach said there was nothing spectacular about Lynch's escape from the prison where he was held - a converted college on the English coast that she said had only minimal security.
"Basically it's an open prison," she said, calling it a place inmates "can virtually walk out of."
Despite the reference to going abroad, Breach said police believed that Lynch was still in Britain. She added that police were keeping close tabs on Lynch's updates.
"Everyone else is," she said.