Bradenton man takes to social media to try to find person who stole his trailer

Using social media to fight crime

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Social media has changed the landscape of society and how law enforcement does police work.

It’s also made a difference for people who want to take matters into their own hands.

Jeffrey McConnell used Facebook in hopes of finding his stolen property within the reach of his fingertips.

“It provided me a platform to get the message out of what I’ve lost,” said trailer theft victim, Jeffrey McConnell. His trailer was stolen this week from a Bradenton storage facility.

Parrish man looking for stolen trailer.
Parrish man looking for stolen trailer. (Source: wwsb)

“Everything that I need to fix my problems or my issues to make something better than what it was, was on that trailer. That trailer was my livelihood and is my livelihood and when I get it beck it will continue to be my livelihood,” said McConnell.

His post on Facebook has reached many people who want to help solve the mystery theft. Others are trying to lift his spirits.

"Offered to loan me tools until I can get my tools back," said McConnell.

The same social tool McConnell uses is used by law enforcement to do police work.

“15/ 20 years ago we didn’t have the tools like social media to be able to reach our community,” said Sarasota Police Department Public Information Officer, Genevieve Judge.

It’s a way to connect with the community, close cases, and get information.

Something agencies like Sarasota Police Department take a part in. This week SPD requested the communities help to find a woman accused of stealing $1,000 worth of items from a gift shop.

“We put that person’s picture on social media and within 24 hours our detectives received between 25 and 30 phone calls. And we were inundated with private messages through our different social media channels as well,” said Sarasota Police Department PIO, Genevieve Judge.

And although it’s helpful, sometimes social media can bring a disadvantage when misinformation circulates.

Something agencies like Sarasota PD try to shut down by being someone people can count on. As for Jeff and his quest to find who stole his trailer, he tells me he’s offering $1,500 as a reward.

He says because of his post on social media someone already reached out with a potential lead that could reunite him with his stuff.

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