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Victims use social media to help Police locate offenders

Victims use social media to help Police locate offenders

Hamilton Police are extolling the value of social media as a crime fighting tool after victims of a burglary found their items for sale on Facebook, leading to the arrest of three offenders.

District Shift Manager, Senior Sergeant Mike Underwood, said the burglary took place at a Claudelands address on Saturday and amongst the items taken were a 50" Panasonic plasma screen television, a Sony stereo, jewellery and clothing.

"After reporting the burglary the victims made some enquiries of their own on Facebook and identified some of their property and a possible suspect.

"Members of one of our Public Safety Teams took the victims' information and, marrying it up with enquiries of their own, identified the offender and a location of where the property was likely to be.

Mr Underwood said under the Search and Surveillance Act, Police went to a Masefield Dr home and found a 15-year-old girl wearing a black leather jacket taken in the burglary and other stolen items.

"Under the same act our officers then went to a Tongariro St address where a 17-year-old male was found with other items taken in the burglary and a search of a Lorne St address resulted in the recovery of the plasma screen television and stereo."

Mr Underwood said a 28-year-old woman is being interviewed in relation to receiving these items.

"As a result of the victims relaying what they saw on the Facebook site to Police in a timely manner, investigators were able to not only arrest the three offenders but return a large portion of the items taken."

Mr Underwood said offenders need to be aware that social media sites are a valuable tool frequently used by Police.

"And while we can use these sites after the event to help investigate the crimes there are some internet initiatives that can deter crime from happening in the first place.

"We strongly recommend property owners record the serial number of their valuables on the Operation SNAP website (www.snap.org.nz [1]) so we can readily identify items that are stolen. At the same time we ask you to report if you are offered goods at prices too good to be true. If you're not comfortable talking to Police you can still leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."


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