HUDSON — When the Pasco Sheriff's Office named Matthew Oliver as the Fugitive of the Day on its Facebook page Wednesday, comments flowed in fast. Followers were quick to poke fun at Oliver, who was smiling in the photo. The script above the picture called for tips because he was wanted in connection with a robbery.
Then Oliver, 23, chimed in.
His first post was accusatory, threatening. He wrote that the Sheriff's Office had slandered his name and that he was in a hospital at the time of the robbery.
"This is bulls---," he wrote. "All I have to do is accuse someone and they get in trouble. Pasco County has nothing but fools investigating crimes for them that's why these mix up happen."
And later, "I swear on everything I own Pasco County WILL be held responsible for this."
He wrote that he no longer had an active warrant and didn't know why deputies were calling for his arrest.
Oliver claimed to have been in the hospital with an infection he contracted after being cut in a mixed martial arts fight.
The comments turned profane as Oliver tussled with other commenters.
Pasco Fugitive Warrants, another Sheriff's Office Facebook account, joined the feed:
"I have verified that Matt's post about being in the hospital is true. In an earlier post, I provided a telephone number for him to call us. If he feels he does not fit the definition of the word 'fugitive,' I will be hearing from him."
"We were not taunting him, per se," said sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow, "but we wanted to let him know that he had the opportunity to turn himself in."
He didn't, and just after noon Friday, warrants deputies found Oliver at a relative's house in Hudson. Snow said his comments helped lead deputies to the home.
When they saw the commotion on the page, Oliver's Facebook friends wrote messages to the Sheriff's Office that tipped deputies to his whereabouts.
The warrants unit posted again under the photo on Friday to say it had made an arrest.
Oliver became a fugitive in December when, deputies say, he and a friend punched a man in the face and stole wallet with $260 at a Family Dollar in Bayonet Point.
Oliver, of 5036 Oyster Circle in New Port Richey, was arrested on a charge of strong-arm robbery and was being booked into the Land O'Lakes jail Friday afternoon.
By Friday evening, the original Facebook post had been shared more than 300 times.
Contact Alex Orlando at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.