Man Loses Job Over 'Threat' Against Sand Springs Police Vehicle
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - A Sand Springs man is out of a job after a post he made on his Facebook page went viral and caught the eye of police.
He said it was just a joke, but not everyone thinks it's funny.
Monday night, Gene Stretch posted a picture of him inside a Sand Springs police car at the body shop he works for with the caption, “I don’t think they realize who’s actually working on their car. I should cut the brake lines,” followed by a smiley face.
When Sand Springs police first started getting phone calls from citizens about the picture and post, initially, they were very concerned, but they decided to go straight to the source and realized there was more to the story.
"All my friends know I'm an ex-felon and I thought they'd get a laugh out of it. It's not every day a person with my background gets to operate a police cruiser," Stretch explained.
He said it was just a joke and that he meant no harm, holds no grudge against police and would never do anything to a police car.
He said he thought his Facebook settings were private, so only his friends who get his sense of humor would see it, but it went viral.
"I know it's gone as far as Australia because I got a hate message from Australia," Stretch said.
He also got fired and apologized to his boss and the police chief.
His boss, Wayne Moore with A-Plus Collision, is also getting hate messages, even though he's operated a reputable business for 30 years, supports law enforcement and knew nothing about the post.
"It's really a stab in the back. But really, people who know who I am, they'll know that's not my views and belief," Moore said.
Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter said, "Nothing is local anymore."
Carter said he's heard from people in New York and Indiana.
He said both the business and Stretch apologized and considers the issue to be over.
"We're very accepting from he and his employer; this was nothing malicious, just a joke in poor taste that went viral," he said.
Everyone involved agrees there are two lessons we can learn - be smart about what you post, especially if you're an employee. And, no matter how much you'd like to take something back, once it's out there, it's virtually impossible to do.