Social media leads to arrest of Toms River supermarket purse snatching suspect

    A widely distributed photograph and video of a purse snatching suspect is credited with leading to the arrest of a Brick woman Saturday. 

    Police charged Crystal M. Leo, 28, of Brick with the September theft of a purse from a 65-year-old woman’s shopping cart at Shoprite on Route 37 in Toms River, the Toms River Police Department announced in a release.

    Last week, police released a video and still photographs of the incident, which were distributed throughout traditional and social media news outlets.

    The video received 170,000 views on the department’s new Facebook page, poice said. 

    “We received numerous tips from the public and thank them for their efforts in identifying Ms. Leo. We also would like to thank the Shoprite security team who, after the fact, were able to systematically piece together several different video footages that ultimately aided in the apprehension,” said police spokesman Ralph Stocco. “We are continuing the investigation to determine if there are any links with other recent thefts of this nature.”

    Leo’s arrest comes on the heels of two recent apprehensions in Toms River credited to citizen tips originating from social media. 

    In late January, Gerald Snyder, of Farmingdale, was arrested and charged with a residential burglary on Morris Boulevard after a surveillance video of his vehicle was published. Todd Timmerman, of Toms River, was arrested and charged in early February after police published surveillance video of him stealing a coffee maker from a department store.

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