Waterford police use Facebook to catch criminals

WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — On May 16th, a man walked into the Hess gas station on Route 1 and walked out with a donation jar. Police say because of Facebook he didn’t get very far.waterford facebook 2 Waterford police use Facebook to catch criminals

Mike Olsen owns the Waterford gas station where the Friday’s Dog Rescue Foundation jar was stolen. He says the crime was caught on camera.

“As he turned the fella just grabbed it and put it under his shirt,” said Olsen.

Images from the surveillance video were posted on Waterford Police Department’s Facebook page and even though the store clerk didn’t know the suspect apparently others did.

waterford facebook 4 Waterford police use Facebook to catch criminals“As soon as he placed it on Facebook we got numerous hits one as far away as Massachusetts in regard to who the individual was,” said Waterford Police Lt. Stephen Bellos.

Now a week later the update is posted. A mug shot of the now arrested 34 year old Joseph Tonelli.

“I hate it when people do stuff that’s not right and get away with it. Maybe it will make other people think,” said Olsen.

Olsen plans to donate ten cents for every gallon of gas sold Friday to the Friday Dog Rescue Foundation because of the theft.waterford facebook 5 Waterford police use Facebook to catch criminals

Waterford police say Facebook has helped them solve several larceny and motor vehicle crimes.

waterford facebook 6 Waterford police use Facebook to catch criminals“A lot of times it’s funny that some of the probation officers recognize them. They follow our Facebook page and that’s helpful,” said Lt. Bellos.

People share the posts which have helped catch some suspects in a recent rash of Ulta store thefts others though are still out there.

“The more eyes you have the better off you are and I think that this tool has allowed us to solve more crimes,” said Lt. Bellos. “I think some of them probably would have never got solved.”

Social media may help with the initial identification but police did their due diligence that’s how they found out the suspect was also wanted on two warrants.

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