WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand police have arrested a safe burglar by using the popular social networking website Facebook to identify and track him down.
Calling it the “first Facebook arrest,” Queenstown police in southern New Zealand posted security-camera footage and pictures showing the man’s face as he tried to break into the safe of a local tavern Monday.
“The offender was identified after a movie and images of him were displayed on Facebook. He was identified from members of the public viewing him on Facebook and also seeing him on TV after the Facebook images were displayed on the news,” the police station said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Police said the unnamed, 21-year-old Queenstown native would appear in court Wednesday.
Local media said the man got too hot while trying to break into the safe, took off his balaclava and revealed his face to a hidden security camera.
“He was a very silly young boy. The room is really small and it gets really hot in there at the best of times,” the bar’s assistant manager, Mel Kelly, was quoted as saying.
“Clearly, he didn’t realize there was a video camera there until the last moment. He looks round and sees it and there’s just a shocked look ... His face definitely drops.”
Staff at the bar did not recognize the man, but Kelly suspected he was a former employee because of his knowledge of the property.
This is not the first time that Facebook, the world’s largest online social network, has been used to track down criminals.
In November, an Australian restaurateur left holding a hefty unpaid bill when five young diners bolted used the website to find them, and got them to pay their bill.
Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Sugita Katyal