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Taberite uses social media to nab theft suspect

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Taber Times

By Greg Price
Taber Times

There is Batman, there is Superman, and then there is Social Media.

Social media’s super power has led to charges against a man thanks to the quick thinking of Taberite Kyle Sargeant who used the medium and some quick thinking to nab a person who was stealing valuables/money from hockey arenas in Lethbridge.

Sargeant noted within 10-20 minutes of posting photos of a possible theft suspect, asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the man, three people contacted Sargeant giving the man’s name.

“We forwarded it to the Lethbridge Police and they found his address and worked their magic,” said Sargeant. “They got him to admit it and he has been charged. He had been going around to arenas in Lethbridge and stealing room keys and then going into rooms. He was smart about, it was stealing just one key, it was getting replaced without changing any locks. There were two reported thefts in the last three weeks, so we changed all the locks. I should of let the guy try and get in, it would have been funny to watch, because there was no way he was getting in.”

Sargeant works for a land surveying company and is also an operator for the City of Lethbridge, working as a ‘rink rat’ and Zamboni driver at the arenas.

There were e-mails sent out to workers by supervisors to be on the look out for a guy with an average build and neck and hand tattoos on suspicion of thefts that had been going on for a few weeks at ice arenas in the area.

“Sure enough, I look over, and there’s a guy that fits the description. I watched him for a few minutes and then went over and started asking him some questions like who he was there to watch (play hockey),” said Sargeant. “Asking questions, immediately I could tell something was off, something was wrong. He was bullshitting me and ended up walking to the door, as soon as he hit the exit door, he just bolted and took off running. I chased him for a block and then I called the police.”

Sargeant added while he was unsuccessful in his pursuit, he did take pictures of the suspect with his phone, as he approached him in his first conversation with the man.

“That is what got him caught, the pictures that I took, I was able to get his tattoos in the picture. I wasn’t able to get his face, but I got his very distinctive tattoos and I posted them on Facebook,” said Sargeant. “It was shared a few times and within 10 or 20 minutes I got like three, four messages all saying it was the same guy.”

Sargeant said the policeman working the case phoned him late at night last week, stating the man has been officially charged with theft under $5,000 and is set to appear in court in February. Sargeant added video surveillance at the ATB Centre and Henderson Arena were used in the case.

Phone call and email inquiries on Friday to the Lethbridge Police Service for further information on the case were unreturned as of Taber Times press deadline.

Look for a story in next week’s Taber Times on how social media has aided the Taber Police Service in various cases.

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