A Missouri man is facing a felony charge this week for tampering with electronic monitoring equipment, after he allegedly created a how-to video showing him removing a GPS tracking monitor.
What are the details?
The Facebook video appears on the purported account of 33-year-old Dustin Burns of Springfield, Missouri, and has racked up more than 17,000 views since its posting on July 7.
Court records show Burns has been in the Greene County Jail since late August, and the Springfield News-Leader reported he had been on probation after pleading guilty to violating a restraining order earlier this year.
The News-Leader said Burns was arrested after being charged with several probation violations this summer.
In the tutorial video, a man who authorities believe to be Burns is seen giving a "lesson (on) how to remove a GPS tracking bracelet without stopping the circuit," according to the caption.
The instructor then uses a butter knife and a utility tool to remove the device while reminding viewers to take caution not to damage the bracelet, which could result in thousands in fines.
The Daily Mail reported that Burns' was previously arrested in October 2015, and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He is being held on $4,000 in total bonds in connection with the charges pending against him.
GPS monitoring devices are commonly used in the criminal justice system as a way to keep jail populations (and costs) down, while allowing offenders to go to work or necessary appointments. But a recent investigation by WCNC-TV showed that while house arrest is supposed to be a privilege for offenders, many in North Carolina were found to be serving time on the outside for violent crimes such as rape and even murder.
North Carolina Community Corrections director Tracy Lee acknowledged to WCNC that there are instances of people cutting off the devices and committing further crimes while on house arrest, but says monitoring is overall "a very good program" for the state.
In July, North Carolina criminal Akeem McIver was on electronic house arrest when authorities say he killed Nekeshia Washington and two others while robbing her home in Fayetteville. McIver had cut off his ankle bracelet, and was on the run for a week before law enforcement caught up with him. It is unclear why McIver was placed under house arrest in the first place.
Washington's death has drawn attention to the risks of allowing people convicted of violent crimes to be given access to the public at large — with or without monitoring. WCNC reported that as of July, "roughly 13,000 people on probation and parole [were] considered absconders" in North Carolina.