Social media plays key role in catching suspected criminals - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Social media plays key role in catching suspected criminals

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Thomas Warner (Source: Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office) Thomas Warner (Source: Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office)

Social media has become an increasingly valuable resource for law enforcement when it comes to identifying suspects in criminal cases.

"It helps us quite a bit," Detective Glenn Lemoine, Denham Springs Police Department, said. "A lot of cases, we'll put a picture on our Facebook page and we'll get calls from people telling us their identity. We then run their license information and match the photos."

That's the exact method used to identify Thomas Warner, 21, who is accused of two recent vehicle burglaries. The burglaries happened shortly after midnight in the parking lot at a Burger King and a Waffle House located off Rushing Road.

"He broke the door glass of the vehicle," Det. Lemoine said. "Both vehicles had purses on the floor board of the vehicle."

A gas station located near the two businesses gave investigators the first clue to solving the case.

"A clerk at the store found a purse on the ground and called police," Det. Lemoine explained. "They pulled the surveillance video and saw the suspect exit a vehicle with the purse. He then walked up to the store and tossed the purse near a garbage can. He then went inside the store and left without making a purchase."

Detectives had a picture, but no way to identify the suspect. That's when they turned to Facebook for help.

"We put the picture on our Facebook page and that's how we identified [Warner]," Det. Lemoine said. "We've issued warrants for his arrest. He's currently in the Livingston Parish Jail on unrelated drug charges. We will formally charge him for the burglaries within the next day or two." 

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