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Business owner relies on social media to catch crooks

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Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 11:40 am | Updated: 8:58 pm, Wed Sep 4, 2013.

One by one, four burglars enter the tiki bar area at "Evie's" on Bee Ridge Road. After causing some damage and trying to get at the beer tap, they leave.

But this surveillance camera remains--and thes video on YouTube has been viewed nearly 5 thousand times, and hundreds more on Facebook.

"We'd have 300 responses already just on one site," said Mike Evanhoff, owner of "Evie's."

And thanks to this new layer of virtual vigilantes, Sarasota County Sheriff Deputies were able to make arrests in this case.

"It's amazing how quickly it went viral and it was out, and we had people commenting and people like to see stuff like that, even though its a bad circumstance and people like to see people caught as well," Evanhoff said.

Evanhoff also posted a picture of someone who he says stole a sign at his new restaurant called "White Buffalo", and posted a picture of someone smashing their SUV into the side of the building on Sunday night. He's hoping his social media friends will help detectives make arrests.

Surveillance cameras are nothing knew to Evanhoff. A camera he put behind his car wash on Bee Ridge Road caught Joseph Smith kidnapping Carlie Brucia. The video help detectives catch Smith, and helped prosecutors sentence Smith to death for Carlie's subsequent murder.

Make no mistake, the vandals video pales in comparison to the magnitude of the the murder case, but this is a story of a business owner who knows the value of helping law enforcement catch suspects, now with the additional help of YouTube and Facebook.

"Without social media, we would never know who did it," he said.

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