Man turns himself in after Google search tells him he’s on ‘Most Wanted’ list

Avatar By Aaron Sims | 7 years ago

Google has helped California authorities capture at least one “most wanted” fugitive.

According to a segment recently aired on National Public Radio, a Bay Area many named Christopher Viatafa had no idea that he was wanted by police until he did a search of his own name on Google. The routine self Google search brought him to a Northern California Most Wanted website, which prominently featured his mugshot and a notice calling for his address. The site in question displays the 25 most wanted criminals in the Bay Area. Viatafa was so bewildered over the arrest notice that he decided to turn himself into the authorities, an instance of what police called “good judgment” that could help Viatafa when he faces charges in court for his crimes.

Initially, Viatafa was surprised to see his face on a “most wanted criminal” website, an emotion that shifted to curiosity when he couldn’t quite figure out why police would be looking for him. Ultimately though, it wasn’t just innocent curiosity that led Viatafa to turn himself in. The Bay Area resident was, it turns out, wanted for a gun-related incident that took place some seven months ago.

The incident allegedly occurred at the San Leandro Senior Center in August 2013. Police say that Viatafa got into an altercation with several other people at the party, an argument that escalated until Viatafa “pulled out a semi-automatic handgun” and started firing rounds at the ground near the feet of the people with whom he was arguing. After being ejected from the party, an angry Viatafa fired several more shots. Police didn’t say if the shots in question were fired into the air, at the ground, or into the party where guests were. It also isn’t clear whether anyone was injured as a result of the outburst, or whether Viatafa was intoxicated at the time.

Regardless of the specifics of the case, the 27-year-old Viatafa is being charged with “assault with a deadly weapon.” How the case will proceed now that Viatafa has been apprehended is unclear, as is whether or not police will try to get Viatafa a lenient or reduced sentence due to his decision to cooperate with the law.