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Community turns to Facebook to stop crime

SOUTHEAST TEXAS - By Justin Hinton, KFDM News

A Hamshire community turned to Facebook to stop a rash of burglaries.

“Whereas you can’t keep connected all the time via phone, you can keep connected through Facebook,” Kristal Tidwell said.

She decided to join the Facebook watch group after her neighbor caught strangers taking photos of her Hamshire home.

She later found out those men were part of the group arrested days before Christmas.

David Hillyer and a number of other residents in Chambers, Jefferson and Harris counties were not as fortunate.

Hillyer returned home from work a week before Christmas to find his house ransacked. He says the burglars took Christmas presents, important personal documents and his deer rifles.

“They were very sentimental,” Hillyer said. “It belonged to my grandfather and some close old friends. Can’t replace those. You can buy new guns, but you can’t replace that.”

Deputy Rabalais with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office says investigators recovered $30,000 worth of merchandise when they arrested four men including guns, ammunition, jewelry and Christmas presents.

The Sheriff’s Office has reason to believe the suspects are part of a larger organized crime ring.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said during their arrest, one of the suspects said, “The only reason I’m here is because the other guy called in sick.”

Tidwell says she plans to keep using the Facebook watch group as a resource.

“The watch on Facebook has been good, has been great. And it has played a major role in capturing these people.”Community turns to Facebook to stop crime

Wednesday, January 2 2013, 06:39 PM CST
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