Robber IDs Self by Posting Instagram Photo on Stolen Phone

Geoff Rickly's alleged robber posted a photo of himself on the stolen phone -- and sent it to Rickly's friends on social media

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Thursday, Jun 6, 2013  |  Updated 6:27 AM EDT
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A Brooklyn musician is thanking a popular social media app for helping him locate the man who robbed him in Greenpoint. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

NBC 4 New York

A Brooklyn musician is thanking a popular social media app for helping him locate the man who robbed him in Greenpoint. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

A gunman who robbed a Brooklyn musician for his phone opened an Instagram account on the device and blasted a photo of himself to the victim's friends.

Geoff Rickly, the lead singer for the former band called Thursday, says he was walking home on Driggs Avenue from the L train Monday night when he was attacked.

"A guy came up and put his left arm around me," he said. "I didn't recognize him, and he had a gun right to my stomach with his right hand. And I honestly buckled."

The robber took his phone, his iPad, wallet and cash. 

Rickly did not expect to ever find the man who robbed him -- until his friends started getting some interesting messages on social media.

His friends on received a message stating, "Your Facebook friend Geoff Rickly just joined Instagram."

But the name and the picture that appeared was not Rickly. Friends began to email and tweet Rickly that a stranger had opened an Instagram account under his name. When Rickly saw the picture, he knew right away it was the man who robbed him.

"It was like basically a perfect mugshot that he put up with his name," said Rickly. "I would know that face anywhere now."

Rickly turned the photo over to police, who are now investigating. 

Rickly now performs solo and has been giving away his CDs to fans. When the news of his robbery began to circulate, fans begged to donate money for his music, a gesture that Rickly appreciates after a frightening episode in which he feared being killed. 

"I was wondering, if I saw his face, is it worth it for him to keep me alive?" he said. "It was already a crummy day. Is this how it's going to end?"

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