#ThanksFollowers: Twitter followers help trace owner of stolen pictures

14 February 2013

Twitter screen

@metpoliceuk Twitter followers turned detective to help track down the owner of a stolen digital photo frame after officers appealed on the popular social media site.

The digital frame and its memory card were in a blue Ikea bag along with a number of other items and were found by a dog walker on a thoroughfare running alongside the River Wandle in the Haslemere Industrial Estate, SW18 on 23 December 2012.

“Without the help of our Twitter followers we may not have been able to solve this case."

After extensive enquires failed to indentify the owner of the bag officers issued the appeal on January 28 2013.

Two photo’s were chosen to run alongside the appeal, with officers choosing a picture of a group of men and a second featuring a group of women - both taken at wedding.

By selecting two group photo’s officers hoped that someone would be able to identify at least one person which would then enable them to trace and restore the contents of the bag back to its rightful owner.

The appeal featured on the Metropolitan Police’s twitter account and carried a link to its website where both pictures placed.

Police received a call from Jon the owner of the digital frame who had been alerted by a friend that photo’s he had taken at a friends wedding some years prior had surfaced on the Internet.

It transpired that shortly before Christmas Jon’s Wimbledon home was burgled. Away at the time, Jon returned home on Christmas day to find the rear window broken and his home ransacked.

Fearing that he might never get his belongings back Jon had given up all hope that he would ever see them again until a friend of a friend living in Newcastle saw the Twitter appeal.

She in turn contacted one of the people featured in the photo’s who currently lives in London and that person a friend of Jon’s who knew he had been burgled contacted him.

Since the appeal Jon has been contacted at least four times by those in the photos or friends of friends alerting him to the find.

Detective Constable Riaz Karolia of Merton Borough said: “We are absolutely delighted that we were able to restore the digital photo frame and memory card to its rightful owner. To come home on Christmas day to find that you have been burgled must have been devastating.

“After extensive enquiries we were unable to trace the owner so we looked for other ways trace them and felt Twitter would be a great platform to get the appeal out to a large number of people.

“Without the help of our Twitter followers we may not have been able to solve this case. We are extremely grateful for all those who re-tweeted our original Tweet or shared the link to our website.”

Jon said "My wife and I have been enormously impressed by the dedication of the Met Police and the initiative they have shown in using social media to reunite us with our stolen belongings. We had little expectation of ever seeing our missing property again so it was a wonderful surprise to have a friend send us the link to the Met’s tweet showing our photo frame images. We're over the moon.”