Social media website helps police solve crimes

Morgan Wright, creator of Connected to the Case. Photo: WJLA

Social media is emerging as a valuable tool for law enforcement from Boston to Loudoun County, Virginia.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman credits the website Connected to the Case with helping lead to the arrest of a former police officer with a long history of crimes.

A woman, who does not want to reveal her identity, talks with ABC7 about Cleon Williams, 43, of Leesburg, arrested last week in Philadelphia on charges of grand larceny.

She was an aquaintance of Williams, and when she heard he was wanted, a Google search turned up the website Connected to the Case.

She called with information that helped lead to Williams’ arrest.

"I just thought it was a great way to help contribute to the capture," she says.

Morgan Wright is the man behind Connected to the Case in Ashburn...

"Think about it as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon meets Facebook meets America's Most Wanted," Wright says.

A former police investigator, Wright takes profile information from Facebook and other social networking sites to narrow down the whereabouts of fugitives.

Users of the site see the information and provide tips, all of which then go to law enforcement.

"We're simply the front end,” Wright says. “We help point them in the right direction, then after that we support them as they catch the criminal."

It worked with williams, and Wright hopes it works in catching two men wanted for a recent home invasion in Taylorstown.

And it's this kind of action that helped investigators in Boston identify the bombing suspects. Photos and videos from witnesses gave police exactly what they needed.

"This is the 21st century of community policing,” Wright says. “It's a public/private partnership to solve a common problem."