Utah police take to Craigslist personals ad to catch alleged thief

The Orem Police Department turned to Craigslist to submit an ad for a “missed connection” to help identify an an alleged shoplifter, Orem, Utah, March 29, 2017 | Image courtesy of the Orem Police Department, St. George News

UTAH — Police in Utah have found a new and unique use for the personal ads section of Craigslist, utilizing the website Wednesday to catch an alleged shoplifter.

“Finding the ‘One’ when you’re a police officer can be hard,” the Orem Police Department posted on its Facebook page. “ … So, meeting that special someone can be hard and you feel bad when one gets away. Well, we are asking for your help in finding ‘The One’ for one of our officers.”

For help, Orem Police turned to Craigslist to submit an ad for a “missed connection,” a type of personal advertisement which arises after two people meet but are too shy or otherwise unable to exchange contact details.

The Police Department was specifically looking to connect with a woman who had reportedly stolen more than $500 worth of merchandise Sunday from a Target retail store.

It was a cloudy day on the 26th of March,” the message read. “I saw you at Tar-Shay (Target) in Orem. You didn’t see me, but I was watching you from above. Your hair was long, brown and draped to the side. The blue cardigan you were wearing looked so soft. You selected some clothes, diapers and a curling iron (Which you don’t need because I liked your hair just the way it was). I was waiting with anticipation at the checkout line, hoping to get to know you better. That time never came, you didn’t show up, but I did see you leave the store without any bags to carry your stuff.

As you left, the sun had just broke through the clouds as a sign that we should’ve met, my car was parked at the red curb out front. But alas, it wasn’t so ;(………… You left in a hurry in your 4-door, burgundy colored car. I hope you read this and will take a shot and give me a call. My number is 911. Signed-LT Orem PD.

Evidently, the ad worked. The woman was identified through tips.

An update from the Orem Police Department at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday read: “Our suspect is turning herself in tomorrow.”

The Orem Police Department turned to Craigslist to submit an ad for a “missed connection” to help identify an an alleged shoplifter, March 29, 2017 | Image courtesy of the Orem Police Department, St. George News

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • Proud Rebel March 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    An update from the Orem Police Department at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday read: “Our suspect is turning herself in tomorrow.”
    So, the question is, will “tomorrow” ever come?
    This is to whoever leaked this story:
    There is so much wrong with this, that I’m not exactly sure where to begin.
    First and foremost, if it works, keep your mouths shut about it! Why in the world are you bragging about using this method? Wouldn’t it be far better to forget the ego stroke, and continue to use the method, if it works? But on no, you have to go and publicize and brag about how you did it.
    I can tell you right now, that if you worked for me, and I found out who you were, you would spend the rest of your career directing traffic at Sleepy Ridge. On the dog watch.smh
    Second, you are so sure of yourself, that you leaked this story before the fact of the individual turning herself in.
    I’m not going to go on here. I just hope you are real proud of yourself!

    • comments March 30, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Don’t u see that the ad included an obvious surveillance cam photo. You missed the plot here

    • comments March 30, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Yep, not sure what ur even on about

  • comments March 30, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    So the missed connection section is now the ‘catch a criminal’ section? Seems like a desperate move for such a petty crime as shoplifting from a walmart. Too many bored cops sitting around I guess..

  • Wolverine March 31, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Creative Police work, nice job officer! This is a digital world, and by using an unusual resource available to them, police can find a way to track them down. Bored cops you say?? I say good job for finding a way to track her down! Why would anyone complain about a police officer catching a thief? And you’re concerned about sharing the story and method to the public, not everyone sees every news story, perhaps it will discourage this kind of behavior to begin with. the comments prove people will find any reason to complain about anything and everything. “A police officer used a unique method to catch a thief and sahred it witht he public? How dare they!” HAHAHA Just listen to yourselves.

    • comments March 31, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      shoplifting from walmart or whatever box store is essentially a victimless crime. Had they caught a rapist, murderer, or even a burglar I would’ve said good for them. And ur just whining about other people’s whining, so dont act all high and mighty.

  • comments March 31, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Target/walmart, same thing in my book. I’m guessing this woman must’ve been extremely active on social media or similar, bc, in reality, who the … with a brain even trolls through the “missed connections” section? And the odds of spotting someone you know? It was probably more the fact the story went viral that they caught her rather than someone actually recognizing her photo on craigslist. Craigslist’s personals section is mostly spam, ads, hookers, and other assorted useless garbage.
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • comments March 31, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      there’s good reason the site earned the nickname ‘craigslust’ years ago.

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