'Shares' on Facebook help victims ID thief - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

'Shares' on Facebook help victims ID thief

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - There are a lot of crime fighting tools that a cop has, but for this crime, there was no need to dust for prints or get a DNA sample.

For this case, all police needed was a video and a victim with a little social media know-how.

After having their debit card information stolen twice over the past few years, Lynn and Stoney Cook knew the drill.

Suspicious transactions had locked their account so they called the bank.

"They started listing off different places and times for transactions over the weekend and I was like, 'No, that wasn't us at Walmart at 11 o'clock on the night of the 29th. No, we weren't on Gee Street at 1 o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday. That's not us,'" Lynn said.

In an attempt to find out who was racking up the charges, they called the various businesses where the thieves used their information.

Lynn said they hit the jackpot when they called a Jonesboro gas station that was able to match the time and date that their debit card information was used with their surveillance video.

"So I just stopped by and they put the video on a card for me," Lynn said. "I got home and I thought you know what? I'm putting this on Facebook."

Though they live in Pocahontas, Lynn and Stoney worked in Jonesboro for a few years and thought surely they had enough friends that might know who these two thieves were. 

If not, the clear shot of men pumping gas could help identify them if enough people shared the post.

"We expected maybe to get 50...100 views," Stoney said. "Somebody knows somebody who knows something."

However less than ten hours later, their expectations had multiplied.

"Ten thousand views," Lynn said. "Over 10,000 views and 500 shares. Right before we started this it was almost 43,000 views and 2,000 shares."

While the shares helped, it was the messages that came pouring in that identified and landed one of the men in jail.

Lynn said hundreds of messages flooded her inbox, generally starting with, "you don't know me but I know who this person is."

By the time the Cooks filed a police report with JPD, numerous phone calls had already been placed identifying George "Terri" Hill as one of the suspects. He has since been arrested for theft of property, credit/debit cards.

"(the detective) said 'You made my job real easy! You did all the foot work for this!'" Lynn laughed.

Though their video was shared nearly 2,000 times, they can't see who all helped by sharing.

However, they want everyone to know how grateful they are.

"We can't say thank you enough," Lynn said.

The Cooks plan on getting video from McDonald's and WalMart soon, the two other locations where transactions were made.

They said they plan to share those videos on Facebook as well to help police locate any other suspects.

If you have any information, give Crimestoppers a call anonymously at 935-STOP. 

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