Dear Thieves, Facebook has helped Hagerstown Police identify you.
The police department has identified two suspects in a recent theft at Ulta thanks to feedback from the public after the agency posted a screenshot from surveillance footage to the social media website with a humorous letter to the alleged thieves.
Charges are expected, according to an email from Lt. Rebecca Fetchu, a spokeswoman for Hagerstown Police.
Hagerstown Police used the humorous posting style on Facebook, addressing a note to the suspects that started, “Dear Thieves, In case you haven’t heard, surveillance cameras are everywhere these days.”
It goes on to note that while the thieves thought they might make a “quick get away on our interstate system,” Hagerstown Police knew the community would share the surveillance photo “far and wide.”
As of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, there were 9,878 shares and 386 comments on the Facebook post.
Hagerstown Police posted the surveillance shot of the two masked suspects, which shows tattoos on at least one of the suspects, on Monday night. In less than 12 hours, the suspects were identified, Fetchu wrote.
Eighteen bottles of high-end, name-brand perfumes were stolen from Ulta in the Centre at Hagerstown along Garland Groh Boulevard around 5 p.m. Friday, Fetchu wrote. A female employee tried to intervene, but one of the suspects grabbed and shoved her. The employee was not injured.
Hagerstown Police took the report about the theft on Saturday because Ulta’s policy is to first notify its loss prevention people before calling police, Fetchu wrote.
The police agency uses social media occasionally to help identify people and inform the public about officers’ “good work,” Fetchu wrote.
“It allows us to interact with our community on a wide scale and we find the public is often eager to help. We appreciate the support of the community,” she wrote.
As for the style of the posting addressed “Dear Thieves,” Fetchu wrote that sometimes the wording is crafted to help catch the public’s eye and interest. How the department’s posts are worded depends on the circumstance and overall goal to reach the public.