Within 24 hours of posting a photo of a possible suspect on the Corvallis Police Department’s Facebook page Friday, police received a tip that led to an arrest.
The posting was the second time that police used Facebook in asking the public’s help in identifying someone since launching its page in mid-March.
A woman reported Friday that she accidentally left her debit card in the ATM machine outside the OSU Federal Credit Union on Ninth Street on Thursday evening and someone had fraudulently withdrawn money from her account. Police disclosed only that the amount was more than $100.
Capt. Dave Henslee posted a photo online taken from a surveillance camera. It depicted the man who was next in line at the ATM. A message accompanied the photo asking members of the public for help identifying the man in the photo.
A Facebook user who saw the post and recognized the man called police Saturday morning. Less than six hours later, police cited Jeffery D. Hamann on misdemeanor charges of theft in the second degree and identity theft and a felony charge of computer crime. Hamann could not be reached by phone and had not been arraigned on the charges as of Monday.
Corvallis Police launched a Facebook page as a way to disseminate information directly to the public, receive feedback and give citizens a glimpse into the human side of the department, Henslee said.
“We’re really excited about involving the community, but the response is definitely greater than we anticipated,” he said. “I was shocked to see that 26,000 people had seen our photo — and that’s just on our page.”
Henslee doesn’t know how many people saw the photo before Hamann’s arrest, but by Monday morning, 26,720 people viewed the one that originated from the department’s page. An additional 11,456 Facebook users saw the same post that the Corvallis Gazette-Times released on its Facebook page.
On April 9, police released a grainy black-and-white photo taken from an ATM surveillance camera in a separate fraud case. The department received three tips from the public based on the Facebook post, but it was the identification by a Benton County Adult Parole and Probation officer that led to an arrest.