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Thumbs down for social media 'vigilantism' despite arrest

FOOTAGE: A still of the CCTV footage which was shared more than 680 times on social media.
FOOTAGE: A still of the CCTV footage which was shared more than 680 times on social media.

A MAN has been charged after CCTV of a brazen bike theft went viral on social media.

A 30-year-old Leichhardt man will front court next month on four counts of theft.

Police will allege he not only stole a teenager's bike from Supa IGA Lowood on Boxing Day but also stole petrol on three other occasions between December 16-30 in Karalee, Fernvale and Booval.

Senior Sergeant Troy Salton of Lowood Police Station said it was a combined effort of good police work and information provided by the public which led to charges being laid.

The owner of Supa Lowood IGA shared CCTV video and still images of the alleged theft on Facebook which was shared more than 680 times.

"We were able to use the CCTV to track the (suspect's) movements and identify him," Snr Sgt Salton said.

"It was a combination of persistence from the officers involved in the investigation and some good police work and community support.

"It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and took a bit to get it all together."

Despite charges being laid largely due to help from the community, Snr Sgt Salton discouraged social media vigilantism.

"The advice we would offer is not to take it into your own hands. It's better to provide footage to the police and not share it on social media," he said.

"It opens up a whole range of other issues."

Supa IGA Lowood owner Toby Whitten said he believed a suspect would not have been found if the CCTV had not been shared on Facebook.

"It's a good thing that people shared it and I had a lot of people come to me with names which I passed onto the police," he said.

"Thank-you to everyone who took the time to look at the video, like it and share it. I believe that was how someone was charged."

Snr Sgt Salton said although charges had been laid the bike was yet to be located.

Topics:  facebook ipswich court ipswich crime lowood qt country social media


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