Crime Suspect Identified By Social Media

Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson

Here is a good example of how social networking sites and social media apps can help police solve criminal investigations.

An alleged robbery suspect has been identified and arrested after some people on social media identified him for police.

Patrick H. Wilson, 26, of Lake City, Florida has been arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft and felony criminal mischief thanks to the efforts of social media.

Wilson allegedly broke into the New Beginnings Restoration Church in Lake City, Florida at the beginning of November and stole a number of items from the church, including musical instruments valued at $2,000.

In addition to the robbery, Wilson did $1,000 in damage to the church building during his break-in, when he broke down interior doors, attempted to remove an air conditioning unit and broke the church’s alarm system.

Wilson also attempted to disable the church’s security cameras, but was unsuccessful. As a result, he was caught on surveillance video vandalizing several rooms in the building and stealing several items.

According to police, Wilson left the church with the stolen items only to come back several hours later to steal more stuff.

The Lake City Police Department posted part of the surveillance video on their Facebook page and in just two hours the video had been viewed over 4,000 times and Wilson was quickly identified by several local Facebook users.

Police contacted Wilson, interviewed him and arrested him shortly after he was identified in the surveillance video.

Wilson showed police where the stolen items were hidden and the Lake City Police Department was able to return the stolen items to the church on the same day that the theft occurred.

In a press release, the Lake City Police Department thanked people on Facebook, Twitter and the MyPD app who saw the surveillance video and helped identify Patrick Wilson.

Wilson is currently being held on a $30,000 bond in the Columbia County Jail.