A stolen iPad was returned to its owner, about a day after it was stolen, thanks to the shaming power of social media.
The Batavia Police Department posted a 35-second video of the theft on the Batavia Crime Stoppers' Facebook page, seeking tips. The post was shared 1,081 times as of Monday morning.
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Around 9:30 a.m. Oct. 1, a person left an iPad on a counter near a cash register at Panera Bread, 154 W. Wilson St. When he reported it stolen, police obtained surveillance video from the restaurant and posted it on the Facebook page.
The very clear video showed a man and a woman. The man picked up the iPad, looked around, then placed it in a shopping bag the woman was carrying.
Detective Kevin Bretz said the man later saw the video on the Internet, and returned the iPad. He contacted the owner directly, because the owner had labeled the iPad with his name and telephone number.
Bretz said the owner decided not to press criminal charges. The case was closed Wednesday.
Bretz said the department is just starting to increase its use of social media, including Facebook.
"Obviously, we'll be doing it (posting video) again," he said.