Robbery footage shared on social media, neighbors help solve crime
With eyes all over the community and our fingers always on our phones, social media may have helped a South Bend family figure out who stole from them.
On Monday night, Jason Pantea says he and his family returned home to find several expensive patio chairs missing from their backyard.
Pantea checked his surveillance cameras and found that after his family left, a man with a baby in the backseat of his car drove up his driveway and behind his home.
After it is out of view for a few minutes, the car then reverses over the lawn to get out through the driveway of the vacant home next-door.
Pantea says he and his family feel really violated.
“It’s not so much about the cost of the thing that was taken its more about the safety of my family,” says Pantea.
Pantea took to Facebook, posting screenshots of the surveillance footage to his page.
Within several hours, the post had been spread over a thousand times. Pantea started receiving tips from people in the community he had never met, but who wanted to help.
“All these people are finding this post just because so many people have shared it and without it, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to identify this man,” says Pantea.
Pantea was able to provide South Bend Police with the name of a potential suspect. they're currently investigating.
Chief Bill Thompson with the St. Joseph County Police Department says the role of social media in solving local crimes keeps increasing.
“That ability to have pictures out so quickly and have eyes on them, so many eyes, so fast, that’s something that is really a game changer for us. The fact that so many people use it so frequently throughout the day, we in policing have recognized that this is a tool for us to use as well,” says Chief Thompson.
Chief Thompson says while sharing crime and safety information over social media has been a big help, the community should also be cautious.
“We just want folks to be careful and certainly careful about how they interpret that information but on balance it’s a really good tool and one we’re really happy to use,” says Chief Thompson.
If you have any information about the man in the surveillance footage, you're asked to contact the South Bend Police Department.