Tonawanda News

The Town

October 17, 2012

Facebook helps solve shoplifting case

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Facebook’s wide-reaching abilities helped authorities identify a shoplifting suspect Monday, police said.

Gerald L. Griffin, 31, of Buffalo, allegedly stole a Playstation 3 gaming system Monday afternoon from Oogie Games, located at 2889 Sheridan Drive. 

“He acted legitimately interested in purchasing it,” store manager Collyn Christian said.

An employee brought out the system from the back room for Griffin to purchase, and Griffin began asking about games for the device when the employee turned around. 

“He immediately grabbed the system and ran out the door,” Christian said. “The employee tried to chase him down, but he was gone.”

Police reported to the scene and obtained a surveillance DVD from the store. Christian also posted a still shot of the video on Facebook.

The photo received more than 100 comments. 

Police Lt. Nick Bado said detectives were working on the video when they received an anonymous call identifying Griffin. 

“They had seen it on Facebook and knew who the guy was,” Bado said. “We put the info in our databank and it pulled up an old mug shot from 2004 and the picture matched the guy in the video.”

Authorities called Griffin and asked him to come in voluntarily. Griffin agreed and gave police a statement Monday night. 

“He said he already had traded it for drugs,” Bado said. 

Griffin was charged with petit larceny and was issued an appearance ticket. He is due in court in November. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.

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