This is one arrest law enforcement officials really “like.”
McMinnville Police Department turned to Facebook to catch a suspected gun thief last week. Austin Kebert, 18, was arrested after a surveillance photo was posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page asking for the identity of the person pictured.
Under the photo was the caption, “The person in this photograph burglarized the Cash 4 U Pawn Shop on the night of Jan. 3 and stole several guns. Anyone with information or recognizing the offender is asked to call detective Todd Rowland.”
McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton said the Facebook post worked like a charm.
“By the end of the day, we had enough tips to bring him in for questioning and he confessed,” said Denton. “It was a really good picture as far as surveillance photos go.”
Kebert was charged with one count of burglary and booked into Warren County Jail on $50,000 bond.
While the surveillance photo posted online did not come from Cash 4 U Pawn Shop, Denton said detective Rowland was able to piece together shots from several cameras in the area to find one with a clear look at the suspect’s face.
Denton cautions people from relying too heavily on social media for information, since it can often be wrong, but it has been effective in identifying suspects. Just a few weeks earlier, surveillance photos posted to Facebook were used to learn the identity of a woman who stole two large bows from Depot Bottom Country Store.
“Like every other facet of life, the internet and social media are where people look to more and more to interact,” said Denton. “While I’m leery of getting my news from social media, I am convinced it can be an effective crime-fighting tool if used appropriately.”