On Oct. 23 a young man came into Ace Hardware in Sumpter Township and stole some high-ticket items, including a $200 air tool and five pairs of work gloves marked $30 each.
Sumpter Police Detective John Toth said the store bosses weren’t in and a young crew was in charge. The crew suspected something was wrong and followed the young man out of the store. The suspect jumped into a truck and sped away northbound on Sumpter Road.
Det. Toth said the call to the police was delayed, but the store was able to give police their surveillance videos.
Lt. Eric Luke suggested they put the suspect’s picture on the Sumpter Police Department Facebook page and on the Keep Sumpter Safe Facebook page.
If a viewer clicks the Share button, that will post the picture on that person’s public wall.
Det. Toth said within 24 hours they had 3,000 clicked Shares. They even got a call from Hawaii, from a person who recognized the suspect from a Facebook page.
Also within 24 hours they got a tip on the person’s identity through the Facebook posting.
Sumpter police were alerted to check out annarbor.com where Saline PD had posted a crime at its Ace Hardware that had the same mode of operation.
Det. Toth said Sumpter solved Saline’s crime, as well as its own.
“We were very shocked at how many clicked,” Det. Toth said. “It was a case-closure for us.”
He said Sumpter is working with Saline, which has all Sumpter’s information to help with its case.
Toth said the same suspect is being charged for the same exact crime at the Lincoln Park Sears store.
Toth said the suspect is using the thefts to fuel a heroin addiction.
Toth said the first concrete tip came from Dexter, where the suspect used to live. Now he lives in Ypsilanti.
“We had a good tip from the first day,” Toth said. “It paid off for us.”