Catching a Bank Robber with Social Media

Police Departments are beginning to understand the value of social media not just as a public outreach method but as a true investigative tool. We saw that on August 11, 2014, when a man walked into a Bank of America branch in Bedford, Massachusetts, claimed to have a gun, and demanded money.

The bank immediately supplied the Bedford Police Department — a JGPR client — with excellent surveillance photos. JGPR processed the photos and sent them out on Twitter, Facebook, and as email attachments with a quick press release sent to all local media.

The suspect was in custody just over two hours later. People recognized the suspect in the social media posts as someone who worked nearby. They called and messaged the Bedford Police, and officers closed in and arrested him without incident.

This case shows that social media can create leads immediately, but we’ve also seen it used to close cold cases and to find missing persons.

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