UGA student uses Facebook to foil armed robbery

Score one for wasting time.

University of Georgia sophomore Nitesh Bhakta said Facebook helped foil an armed robbery in progress at his family's Cartersville home Wednesday night. The 20-year-old was in his room on his laptop when he heard his grandmother scream.

"As soon as I opened my door, I saw three hooded guys like all masked in black at the front door," Bhakta said. "I shut my door, locked it, grabbed my laptop, went into the attic and hid."

Downstairs, the thieves had tied up his grandmother and 17-year-old sister. They searched the house and just missed finding Bhakta.

"I hid up on a ledge in the attic," he said. "They were literally five, six feet away but they didn't see me ... because of the angle."

Having left his cell phone in Athens, Bhakta assessed his limited options.

"I don't think [Facebook] is really meant as a lifesaving tool, but it's the only way I could think of contacting someone immediately to call for help," he said.

So, as the intruders rifled through the home, Bhakta updated his Facebook status: "HELP, ROBBERS, NO PHONE." In all caps, naturally.

"A lot of people thought it was a joke," he said.

Fortunately his best friend, John Salter, took him seriously, notifying Bartow County sheriff's deputies as Bhatka hid in the dark.

"When [the robbers] heard the sirens ... they all kind of fled in their own little directions," Bhakta said.

Deputies apprehended one of the alleged thieves, who has not been identified. The others escaped but should be easy to trace.

"One left his cell phone. So did [the other] one," Bhakta said.

--WSB Radio correspondent Jennifer Griffies contributed to this article.