Social media plays key role in catching suspected criminals

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

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

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

That's the exact method used to identify Thomas Warner, 21, whois accused of two recent vehicle burglaries. The burglaries happened shortlyafter midnight in the parking lot at a Burger King and a Waffle House locatedoff Rushing Road.

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

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

"A clerk at the store found a purse on the ground and calledpolice," Det. Lemoine explained. "They pulled the surveillance video and sawthe suspect exit a vehicle with the purse. He then walked up to the store andtossed the purse near a garbage can. He then went inside the store and leftwithout 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 weidentified [Warner]," Det. Lemoine said. "We've issued warrants for his arrest.He's currently in the Livingston Parish Jail on unrelated drug charges. We willformally charge him for the burglaries within the next day or two."

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