Sheriff's office using camera images to solve, stop crimes

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

MOUND CITY – Many Facebook users readily post and repost ‘Amber Alert” notices when they occur, particularly when a child is taken anywhere in the region. In some cases, those posts can lead to rapid recovery of the child.


Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend got that same kind of response when his office posted a few photos of suspected thieves on press releases on Monday, July 27.


One photo, a slightly blurry screen capture from a video, showed a person crouching in the woods near a line of vehicles. The copy on the post said the person was wanted in connection with a case of stolen catalytic converters in the Blue Mound area.


Another group of photos showed a woman walking around a rural property in the southeast section of the county before walking back to at least one companion in a waiting pickup. Friend said the woman was definitely trespassing and likely discovered that she was being photographed.


That post essentially put hundreds citizen-investigators on the cases.


“It was shared 800 to 900 times he said on Tuesday, the day after it was first posted. And the posts helped identify the man. As of Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff was waiting for warrant to be posted for the man’s arrest.


As for the woman and her companion or companions in the pickup, Friend said he hoped it got out the message. “I want our criminals to know about this and look at what we’ve got going on.”


The sheriff said his department bought the camera system about eight months ago, and his office has been using it in areas where there are known problems with theft and burglary.


Because of the rising incidence of catalytic converters being stolen, his office was able to place the camera system strategically. The cameras were installed with the property owners' permission.


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