Video Technology and Social Media Help Catch a Thief!

Around 11:15 a.m., on Tuesday, January 27, 2015, Officer John Baker, #6160 received a phone call regarding a possible stolen wallet in the lobby at Love Field Airport. Officer Baker dispatched Officer Scott Brookman, #5299 to meet with the victim to determine if an offense had occurred.

After speaking with the victim, Officer Brookman requested that Officer Baker review the surveillance video from around the valet parking area to see if an offense had occurred or if a lost property incident had taken place. A review of the video revealed that the victim’s wallet fell out of her purse and onto the bench that she was sitting on. Also seen on the video was a male suspect who had observed the victim unknowingly leave her fallen wallet on the bench. The suspect waited approximately three to four minutes, walked over to the wallet, placed it in his suitcase, and walked back into the airport.

With the help of Officer Christopher Crites, #6925, Officer Baker was able to track the movements of the suspect, via video camera network. Officers Brookman and Jason Carroll, #8015 were informed of the suspect’s route and were able to locate the victim’s wallet in the trash can of the men’s restroom. The victim informed officers that $350.00 in cash was missing.

Officers Baker and Crites were able to track the suspect’s movements via video camera again and saw that the suspect got into a red vehicle. Officer Baker ran the license plate of the red vehicle and discovered the vehicle’s registered owner. Officer Baker then made an internet search on the registered owner and discovered that the registered owner had a page on a popular social media network. Officer Baker then discovered that he and the registered owner had a mutual friend in common on that social media network.

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Officer Baker contacted the mutual friend and asked her if she knew how to get in contact with the red vehicle’s registered owner.   The mutual friend was able to provide Officer Baker with a contact phone number of the registered owner.   Officer Baker was able to look at the social media network’s friend’s list of the red vehicle’s registered owner and was able to identify the suspect by a distinct piece of jewelry, a very distinct tattoo, and an article of clothing.  From this, officers were able to identify the suspect and a theft report was generated.

The information of the registered owner was obtained and Officer Baker was able to contact him and inform him of the incident with the suspect. Officer Baker asked the registered owner if he could have the suspect contact him by phone. A short time later, the suspect contacted Officer Baker, and talked to him and Sergeant Michael Patino, #7598. The suspect agreed to bring the money back the following morning.

Officer Baker contacted the victim and informed her that the suspect stated that he did not have the $350.00 but he could bring back $280.00 for her instead. The victim stated that if she could get the $280.00 back then she would not press charges.

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at around 10:20 a.m. the suspect had a friend bring $280.00 to Officer Baker. Officer Baker was able to release the money back to the victim around 11:25 a.m. the same morning. The victim decided not to prosecute the suspect and dropped the theft charges.