Authorities on April 18 apprehended a former Leesburg man in Philadelphia wanted for grand larceny using the help of a social media company.
Cleon O. Williams, 43, who was wanted for his involvement in a January grand larceny case in Loudoun, was also accused of being involved in a check fraud scheme where he stole money from a victim's bank account.
Williams is being held in Philadelphia pending an extradition hearing on charges of grand larceny and failure to appear in court.
Once authorities identified Williams as a suspect, they determined he was possibly in the New Jersey area.
By using Connected to the Case, an Ashburn-based company operated by Crowd Sourced Investigations LLC, Loudoun deputies received several tips regarding Williams' whereabouts.
Connected to the Case was started by former law enforcement intelligence professionals and former members of the production unit of "America's Most Wanted." The app uses profile information from Facebook and other social media sites to connect the company to recent crimes and wanted suspects in the area, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office. Although law enforcement receives the tip, Facebook profile information is confidential and never shared.
One of the tips through Connected to the Case led Loudoun detectives and members of the Philadelphia Police Department to Williams.
“This arrest was made possible through hard work by our detectives, partnering with experts in social media, and utilizing all investigative methods at our disposal,” said Sheriff Mike Chapman in a prepared statement. “By expanding our use of social media as an investigative tool, to include Facebook posts and tweets, we have exponentially increased our outreach to the community. This expansion of information, leads and the identification of potential suspects adds tremendous value to our investigations and can take us well beyond the borders of Loudoun County."
Connected to the Case is an initiative to help solve crime.
“People have a desire to help solve crimes, find missing kids and put sex offenders behind bars,” said Morgan Wright, CEO of Crowd Sourced Investigations LLC in a prepared statement. “Connected to the Case uses a variety of social media platforms to join people together and connect them to open cases that they may have information to help solve."