CANTON, Ohio — Wanted fugitives who have managed to elude law enforcement are not escaping the power of social media in Stark County.
Two months ago, the Stark County Sheriff's Office launched "Fugitive of the Week" on its Facebook page. The pictures of people wanted for various crimes, including assault, sexual conduct with a minor, robbery and burglary, have been featured.
The posts also include personal information about the suspects such as date of birth, height, weight and hair and eye color. A tipline (330-451-3937) and the dispatch (330-430-3800) phone number are also provided.
Social media users are closely monitoring and have been calling in anonymous information.
"They just call and say, 'Hey, I know where this individual is at.' They tell us where they're at. We send our investigators to go get them," said Major C.J. Stantz.
In fact, six of the eight suspected fugitives have been arrested thanks to be people scrolling through Facebook and providing tips.
"We, as law enforcement, we have to kind of steer ourselves also to that same platform because if not, we're gonna be left behind," Stantz said.
This week's suspect, 19-year-old Tyler Selway, is getting the most attention yet. He was warrants for drug charges and petty theft.
But, it's his nickname, "Gingerbread Gangsta" that's not getting lost on Facebook. Stantz said the post has been shared about 1,000 times. There are also around 250 comments-- many of which include comical memes.
"The public is having fun with it because of that Gingerbread Gangsta name. We've had posts for gingerbread and gingerbread homes and they're having fun with it and that's not a bad thing," Stantz said.
Stantz said a large focus on wanted fugitives is a good thing. Another wanted person will be added to the Facebook page each Wednesday.
"We always say we can't do this job by ourselves. We need everyone in our community to help us out and do our job, and this is just another way that our community is helping us out."