Mom's FB Post Prompts JPD Investigation - KOAM TV 7

Mom's FB Post Prompts JPD Investigation

Joplin, MO -

A social media post prompts a police investigation in Joplin.
          A message from a mom that a man tried to lure her kids from a store drew a firestorm of shares and reactions.
          The police investigation did not find an abduction attempt but officials say they take all social media tips seriously.

Capt. Rusty Rives said, "We began receiving multiple facebook messages also in reference to the facebook post, whether it was accurate and whether an abduction had occurred.

Investigators reviewed surveillance tapes from the Lowe's store to see whether a man leaving the store Monday night attempted to abduct two children. His exit set off the store alarm.

Capt Rives said,
It does not look  like any abduction was attempted. Most likely it was a shoplifter who was trying to exit the store around the children." 
The mother in the incident tells KOAM, that police indicated to her that it appeared the suspect was trying to use her children as a decoy or shield for him to steal other items. 

The facebook post was shared more than two thousand times setting off alarm bells for many facebook readers.

Capt. Rives said that can make getting the real facts out, difficult. He said,
Once the informations out there its hard to clarify and clean up  the message and get that to get as much traffic and as many shares as  the original post did."
Police do investigate social media alerts to ensure there isn
t a danger out there. And he added, "It it did not occur, we want to lower any hype that might be surrounded by it and we want to make sure people know  they are not only  safe in this community but feel safe also."

Many facebook readers simply used the post to warn other parents to keep an eye on their children. And Capt. Rives said the post does create an opportunity for safety discussions.

He said, "We never know what other people
s behaviors and intentions are, what problems that may cause us.  So, just being able to take this opportunity to have those discussions and making sure we're aware of our surroundings  can help lead to our safety and our children's safety.

Capt.  Rives said people use social media more and more to report crime. But it can create a time delay. While they respond quickly to facebook posts, he says calling police is equally important to do too.


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