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Could that Facebook post put you in jail?

July 8, 2017 GMT

MANCHESTER, Vt. -

Manchester is a town known for its factory outlets and abundance of local shops. But on the night of March 29, this tourist town was in chaos.

“Our dispatch center certainly took on a number of calls,” Manchester Police Chief Michael Hall said.

Hall says those calls were the result of posts on the Manchester Marketplace Facebook page by a man named Bill Daly, a 39-year-old from Connecticut who said a murder occurred and the suspects were on the loose.

The posts read:

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  • There was a murder and the suspects are on foot

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  • They caught one by McDonald’s. 2 more on foot

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  • The equinox is on lock down

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  • Car stolen from mulligans

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    Dozens of other commenters showed their concern and immediately questioned Daly about his claims. Police quickly posted to their Facebook page saying Daly’s posts were not true.

    One of those false allegations was at the Equinox in Manchester Center. We spoke with the general manager who wouldn’t go on camera but said those false claims of a lockdown haven’t affected business.

    “As much as we have a right for free speech, which we certainly abide by, but there comes a point where you can abuse that and violate the law,” Chief Hall said.

    Hall says he’s requested an arrest warrant for Daly in Connecticut for causing a false public alarm. If found guilty, Daly could get two years behind bars and a $5,000 fine.

    “It needs to be clear to people that you will be held accountable for the stuff that you put on social media and in the event it is damaging or dangerous to other people or businesses or things like that,” Hall said.

    Hall recommends people get their news from credible sources and not from Facebook.