NEWS

Online Community Helps Police and Businesses Nab Crooks

By Matthew Harwood

LAS VEGAS - Repeat offender Freddie McBride Jr. opened the Macy's jewelry counter and slipped nearly $3700 worth of merchandise into a Macy's bag. Confronted by loss prevention outside the Sacramento Metro-area store, McBride shouted out to his getaway driver to "get his gun." In reaction to the threat, store security backed off and McBride went upon his way. 

McBride didn't stay a free man for long though. 

Normally a crime like McBride's would be nearly impossible to solve. But an expanding online community of law enforcement and loss prevention professionals has joined forces to help upend that probability.

Unfortunately for McBride, the Roseville Police Department of California used his picture caught by surveillance cameras to create an online alert in 3VR's CrimeDex, a social network where law enforcement and businesses share business-related crime information. That alert was noticed by a California parole agent who realized McBride was a parolee in her office. In response, she called McBride and lured him into coming back to her office where police arrested him for armed robbery. Within four days of the alert, McBride was again in custody. 

According to Detective Sergeant Darin DeFreece of California's Roseville Police Department, who spoke during a session at ISC West,  McBride's crime and arrest demonstrates the importance of Web-based information-sharing portals where law enforcement and loss prevention professionals can trade information across multiple jurisdictions, identify common criminals they're all dealing with, and finally put them behind bars. 

CrimeDex, the tool DeFreece used to nab McBride, is the brainchild of former Portland Police Detective Jim "Gator" Hudson, now vice president of CrimeDex Services at 3VR. Fed up with the lack of cooperation between law enforcement and businesses to solve crime, Hudson quit his job and created his online community where vetted law enforcement, fraud, and loss prevention professionals could share information and videos of crimes, identify common suspects, and more efficiently target resources to end thieves' free-for-all. 

DeFreece said that without CrimeDex, McBride would have escaped. "We call these the unsolvables," according to DeFreece. "These definitely go into the random file. We don't work these cases unless we have something." 

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