People all over the country are talking — and singing — about Jose Simms, the wanted man who promised to turn himself in if Torrington police get 15,000 likes on his Facebook wanted poster. Police have surpassed their goal with more than 25,000 likes, but still, no Simms.
People all over the country are talking — and singing — about Jose Simms, the wanted manwhopromised to turn himself in if the Torrington police get 15,000 likes on his Facebook wanted poster.
Police have more than surpassed their goal with more than 25,000 likes, but still, no Simms. Perhaps not surprisingly, the man accused of lying to police and blowing off court appearances is a no-show. Simms is wanted on seven counts of failure to appear in court on charges that include falsely reporting an incident.
“When we reached the 15,000, we weren’t overly optimistic he would surrender himself but hoped he would stay true to his word,” said Lt. Brett Johnson, who posted Simms’ wanted poster online. “The attention it’s received now is great so long as it leads to his arrest.”
That attention came from as far as California and included a radio performance in Nashville. A country-poprock-group called Dixie Jade sang a song about Simms’s broken promise on The Ty Bentli radio show Thursday, to the tune of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
“Seven warrants. Out for your arrest. Now you’re turning into a Facebook contest. Did you lose at sports? Did you not make homecoming court? Well, the police let you have your fun but you’re still on the run. And you promised. It’s time to do your time. ‘Cause you’re wanted. And you’ve got 15,000 likes. Torrington will find you. Hope you like wearing stripes. ‘Cause you’re wanted and you’ve got 15,000 likes. … It’s up to 21,000 likes. Turn yourself in tonight.”
It was Simms himself who asked on Facebook why Johnson had not included his wanted poster, Lt. Bart Barown said. When Johnson decided to put it online, Simms challenged him, saying he’d turn himself in for 20,000 likes. Johnson got him down to 15,000. Johnson, who works the midnight shift, posted it about 3 a.m. Wednesday.
The police got off to a bit of a slow start getting likes, and Simms himself taunted them, posting the following comment: “…only 13,800 more ‘likes’ to go nice job Torrington.”
Now that the department surpassed its goal and even 20,000 likes, Simms has deactivated his Facebook page, Barown said.
The department hasn’t been relying only on Facebook to find Simms, though, Barown said. They’ve been looking for him through the traditional combination of knocking on doors and calling people who know him. Every time they get a tip that he is out of town or out of state — they heard he might be in New York — they ask that town’s police department for help.
Still, the Internet’s reach stunned Barown, who said some 500,000 people learned about Simms through social media.
“It’s amazing,” Barown said.
And it still might help police find him.
“I think tomorrow’s birthday,” he said Friday. “Hopefully we can give him a birthday present. Tuck him away for the weekend.”
Christine Dempsey can be reached at [email protected]