There’s plenty of dirty laundry aired in public on social media, but last week saw some good come from it with police returning stolen property to its rightful owner within hours of being taken. A shovel and wood splitter were snatched from the Victoria Street, Bairnsdale, property of Peter Deacon and his wife, Cathleen Sims, a little before 11am last Wednesday. Home but inside at the time of the theft, Peter reported the theft to police immediately while Cathleen posted details on all the local Bairnsdale Facebook pages, such as buy, swap and sell, including a photo of the distinctive redhandled tools. It was not long before a response came through on Facebook from a woman who had seen someone walking with the tools.
By 1.30pm the same day, Peter and Cathleen’s tools were returned to them. Bairnsdale police’s Sergeant Rod Lay said the suspect was quickly identified and located. “We recovered the stolen items and arrested the 33-year-old offender,” Sgt Lay said. “He was charged and bailed to appear at Bairnsdale Magistrates’ Court in due course. “This is a rare bit of positive feedback about the value of social media. We get a lot of negative feedback, disputes getting out of control via social media, so this is great. “And it links in with our Eyewatch East Gippsland page on Facebook. Launched about a month a go, there are more than 2100 followers already and we’d like to see the community embrace the positive opportunities provided by Facebook.” Members of the public can provide leads for local police via the Eyewatch - East Gippsland Police Service Area on Facebook, however those who seek anonymity are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.