Facebook posts helping catch crooks?

CREATED Jul. 24, 2013 - UPDATED: Jul. 25, 2013

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla - Another posting of a surveillance video on Facebook may be helping catch a crook. You may remember about a month ago a business in Port Charlotte had a break-in and posted the surveillance video to its Facebook page. Now, that's happened again, and this time it was also in Port Charlotte.


"If she's hungry just ask me for a sandwich, you know. At least I'll put meat on it,” said Renee Petro, the owner of Sam's Subs and Soup Shop.
She's talking about a woman who allegedly stole four subs worth of bread. So, Ms. Petro posted the surveillance video on their Facebook page.

"I thought it'd be funny, kind of vigilante justice so to speak, just to see how long it would take for somebody to know who this young lady was," added Petro.

It happened Tuesday morning. Then, within 24 hours of posting it to Facebook, 13,000 people had watched it. Now they say they know who did it. "I mean, she stole bread,” added Petro. “Whether or not you think that's right, if she was hungry or not, she stole bread."

Last month, Fishin Franks, also in Port Charlotte, had $60,000 worth of merchandise stolen. "The most important thing was having cameras both inside and outside because it's much easier to catch a face than it is a ghost," said Robert Lugiewicz, the manager at Fishin Franks.

A man in North Carolina saw the video posted on Fishin Franks Facebook page, recognized the man as his former neighbor, and called. "As soon as Frank put the picture on Facebook within twenty minutes we had phone calls, emails," added Lugiewicz.

He also said he can't believe how many of their customers stepped up to help. "It really, really surprised and amazed me."

Debbie Bowe with the Charlotte Co. Sheriff's Office agrees that social media is becoming a big help to law enforcement in solving crimes like these, “Absolutely, because we can't do anything without the public's help.”

But, now that the owners of Sam’s Subs and Soup Shop know who the alleged thief is, they are faced with this dilemma; do they prosecute someone for stealing a few loaves of bread or do they let them off the hook?

What would you do in this situation?  Give us a call at 239-206 FOX FOUR. Or send us an email to; news@Fox4now.com.

If you have something you'd like me to look into email me at: dculbreth@fox4now.com.