The fugitive with the alias “Champagne Torino” promised on Facebook for all the world to see: He’d turn himself in to police in suburban Detroit if the cops' post of his “wanted” photo got 1,000 shares.
Responding to Redford Township police, the man posted: ”I’m not worried about it -- if you’re (sic) next post gets a thousand shares I’ll turn myself in along with a dozen doughnuts. And that’s a promise. And I’ll pick up every piece of litter around all your public schools let’s see if you can get those shares."
They did. And he did. What happened seemed to show this urban tough guy had a warm heart after all, surrendering Monday night at the Redford police station while lugging a peace offering of baked goods. That had Facebook posters across southeast Michigan emoting with words of forgiveness and hope for 21-year-old Michael Zaydel.
As well, the police posted their own verbal thumbs up Monday: “At approximately 6:30 pm, Michael Zaydel made good on his promise to turn himself in for his outstanding warrants. He walked in on his own, and not only did he bring the donuts, he brought one bagel! We would again like to express our gratitude for the support of all who followed this, shared it, and left us positive feedback.”
Zaydel had been on the lam for half a dozen outstanding warrants, and he’d become an Internet “troll” with barbs he posted on the police Facebook site, according to police, who recognized his incongruous online alias – combining luxury booze and an obsolete Ford product. The cops responded Oct. 11 by throwing up a post for “wanted fugitive,” complete with a mugshot of the tattooed Zaydel flashing an angry smirk.
That's when Zaydel fired back in ungrammatical English.
And the social-media savvy cops in this suburb of about 50,000 people took up Zaydel’s challenge and ran with it.
"Mr. Champagne Torino has issued the Redford Township Police Department a challenge. As you can see, if we can have this post SHARED 1000 times, he will turn himself in on his existing warrants, clean up blight on public school property, and bring us a dozen donuts. Donuts!!!! He promised us donuts! You know how much we love Donuts! Help us win this challenge and clean up blight in Redford at the same time! It's as easy as a SHARE of this post.”
The Facebook-friendly community was quick to respond with well over the required shares. And on Monday night, dozens of them chirped approval.
"Maybe this will be an eye opener and life changer," posted Kristi Behrend of Farmington Hills. "Great job Redford Police!!!" posted Erica Nienstedt Burris of Clarkston. "Hopefully he is gonna start changing his ways," put in Brandon Taylor of Woodhaven.
By late Monday, Zaydel’s challenge had has more than 4,000 shares. He was jailed and will have a hearing today at 17th District Court in Redford Township, police said.
Contact Bill Laitner: email@example.com