Police Use Social Media To Catch Vandals
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
July 24, 2013 10:14 PM
Police have arrested four Mitchell men in connection with a string of vandalisms that took place over the weekend. But what’s different about this case, is how Mitchell police found the suspects. For the first time, the department turned to social media.
Officials with the Mitchell Police Department said within 24 hours of the post going up on the police departments Facebook page, 11,000 people visited the site. And now after getting such a response, police said they plan on using the social media site to help solve more crimes.
“Two of the people were wearing, we thought very recognizable clothing, so we took that video clip and put it on Facebook,” said Det. Lt. Don Everson, Mitchell Police Department.
This is the video the Mitchell Police Department posted on their Facebook page, showing the alleged vandals in the act. Everson said within 24 hours of the video being posted it was viewed over 5,000 times.
“We knew that social media could reach out to a lot of people, but we were a little surprised that it was this many,” Everson said.
The surveillance video taken from a corn palace camera, shows 25-year-old Tyler Kaltenbach and 24-year-old Nicholas Orlick trying to tip over Cornelius the statue and break a bench that are across from the Corn Palace. Police said the two other men, 23-year-old Cody Long and 25-year-old Matthew Edmundson, were bar hopping with the two, but didn't do any damage to property.
But the vandals night wasn't over, they continued to make their way down Main Street and made a stop at Shafer Memorials were they allegedly vandalized four headstones.
Kim Shafer- Swank, the owner of Shafer Memorials said waking up Sunday morning to find headstones scratched and tipped over was not only upsetting, but now also very expensive.
“We have about $4,600 worth of damage because in order to fix everything that chipped, scratched or broken, it just all adds up,” said Shafer-Swank.
But Shafer- Swank said she is thankful the police department took to social media to get help from the public.
“I just asked everyone I know please help find these guys, and it was quick,” said Shafer-Swank.
And she said now that she knows the police department has its own Facebook page, she will be keeping tabs on the city's crimes.
“I am now friended with them, so I can always know what's going on so I can help somebody else,” said Shafer-Swank
And Everson said after the success with this case, the department will be utilizing the site much more.
“It's not for every investigation but if we have something where there is good video, we are going to use it every time,” said Everson.
Tyler Kaltenbach and Nicholas Orlick are being charged with intentional damage to property. That could mean up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Cody Long and Matthew Edmundson are being charged with failing to report a crime. That could mean a year in jail and or a $2,000 fine.
Police said a business sign, a newspaper vending machine and a flower pot were also damaged.