South Charleston, WV -(AmmoLand.com)- The West Virginia Natural Resources Police were able to solve a deer poaching case in less than an hour July 2, 2015, thanks to help from Facebook users.
Three images originally posted to the social media network SnapChat show a dead deer lying in a creek with a trail of bright red blood flowing downstream, the back of a man walking away in a field with the caption “we out hereeee,” and a woman aiming a long-barreled firearm at the camera with the caption “poaching.” Officer John Casto, who manages the NRP’s Facebook page, posted all three images and asked the public for help identifying the individuals.
“Within an hour we had the individuals’ names,” Officer Casto said. “Within two hours the woman contacted us. She asked that her photo be taken down, and since she was cooperating with the investigation, we did.”
The Natural Resources Police received the images from an anonymous tipster. Posts to SnapChat are sent to a controlled list of recipients and disappear after one to 10 seconds. However, any recipient can take a screenshot of a SnapChat post, making it regular photo that lasts forever. Someone shared the screenshots on Facebook, and someone else who saw them sent the tip via Facebook.
“We’ve been impressed with how we’ve been able to solve crimes with the public’s help,” Col. Jerry Jenkins said. “The response has been beyond what we anticipated when we began using Facebook earlier this year. It’s become a valuable tool for us to gather information about crimes and suspects. It shows how deeply the community of hunting and fishing enthusiasts in West Virginia cares about protecting wildlife and enforcing laws.”