Facebook being used to fight crime

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by Mike Watkiss

Bio | Email | Follow: @mikewatkiss3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 28 at 4:07 PM

Phoenix -- Beer runners beware! You could soon be featured on Circle K's new Crime Busters Facebook page.

Actual surveillance pictures of those who steal from Circle K convenience stores are going up on the popular social networking site. It's an effort by the company and police to turn millions of Facebook users into crime fighters.

Circle K and the Valley's Silent Witness Program are teaming up for a high-tech takedown of people who like to grab and run. In many of the cases, the suspects featured on the site are accused of grabbing merchandise and running out the door.

"Beer runners are a big problem here in the valley," says Phoenix Police Sgt. and Silent Witness Coordinator Darren Burch. 

But now, Burch says, law enforcement and the community have a new tool to tackle these convenience store thieves.

Some recent postings describe how suspects stole cash, coin machines, cigarettes, and beer.

In other instances, the crimes are more violent. In one recent Phoenix case, a man appeared to show a weapon and demanded money from an employee.

Each posting on the site includes a detailed description of the suspect and the crime he or she allegedly committed.

A Circle K spokesman says the images are of alleged robbers who are considered to be the worst of the worst.

That includes serial beer runners from Arizona and Nevada.

With Silent Witness involved, Sgt. Burch says there is reward money available for people who call in tips that lead to prosecution in these cases.

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