After sending a friend request through Facebook, a Gimli store owner was able to identify the alleged thief who broke into his store and stole dozens of watches.
Stefan Tergesen, owner of H.P. Tergesen’s in Gimli, said on Friday someone smashed the windows to his store and took off with more than $2,500 in merchandise.
Tergesen called RCMP, but also decided to use social media to see if he could catch the culprit. He posted surveillance footage of the theft on Facebook and Instagram.
“In 12 hours at least 10,000 people had seen the video,” Tergesen said. “People started sending in tips on who the suspect was.
One person even sent him a screen shot of the alleged suspect’s Facebook page.
Tergesen then decided to send the young man a Facebook friend request. The man accepted the request immediately.
“I only wish I had been there to see his face when he saw my friend request,” Tergesen said. “He messaged me and said he felt bad for what he did, and would return the stolen merchandise and turn himself in.”
On Monday, RCMP confirmed the young man did turned himself in and “identified himself as the person responsible for the theft”.
Although hesitant at first, Tergesen said the use of social media was a helpful tool for getting the word out about the theft.
RCMP said they understand why Tergesen decided to use social media to help find the culprit, but still recommend all information or tips be passed to them.
“The behaviour of criminals and desperate individuals is unpredictable,”said RCMP Sgt. Bert Paquet. “And one should certainly avoid meeting them or engaging on a direct level.”
RCMP are still investigating and no charges have been laid yet.