Social media tips lead to purse-snatcher

Social media tips lead to purse-snatcher
Robert Sprinkle
Robert Sprinkle

DOUGLAS, GA (WALB) - A Douglas robbery suspect was behind bars Wednesday evening and the Douglas Police Department was crediting social media for helping put him there.

Surveillance video from the Douglas Walmart on Monday, April 13th showed what Douglas Police Sgt. Robert Sprinkle said was Casey Elbert Smith snatching a purse from a lady's shopping cart and then running off.

"[She] was attempting to put her groceries, her items she had purchased, into the back of her vehicle. He snatched the purse right there out of the buggy," Sgt. Sprinkle explained.

A couple of customers chased after Smith, but he got away. Sgt. Sprinkle said Smith's crime spree started late Friday, April 10th, or early Saturday on the 11th when he broke into the vending machine at David's Used Cars and stole the coin collection system.

"Done extensive damage to the machine, which made it criminal damage to property," Sgt. Sprinkle said.

The business had surveillance cameras, so detectives posted some still photos on the department's Facebook page after not being able to recognize the man themselves. And the public was quick to help. "Within a couple of hours, we had a name," said Sgt. Sprinkle.

Sgt. Sprinkle said prior to Smith going to Walmart, he also followed an elderly lady out of the Salvation Army, shoved her down, and snatched her purse. That, too, was caught on camera and the video was immediately posted to the department's Facebook page.

"[We] got a huge response from the public, the community; tips and information," Sgt. Sprinkles pointed out.

Tuesday morning, investigators found Smith's car abandoned out in the county and Tuesday afternoon they spotted him walking down the street in his old neighborhood and arrested him.

One purse had been recovered as of Wednesday with only a few items missing, but the other purse had not been found.

Copyright  2015 WALB.  All rights reserved.