Tracking illegal shopping on social media

Social media sites are a part of our daily lives. Facebook, specifically, reported 968 million active users in June 2015. Its function is to bring people together, but police say it’s also bringing crime to our communities.

Jim Sloan has been a realtor in Graves County for 10 years. Before that he worked as a school teacher for 30 years. He says working with people all these years brought him to managing social media sale sites.

Sloan manages three buy and sell sites for Graves County.

“We want people to see Mayfield and see Graves County as a positive place to be. That's the reason we started. Never thought there would be 18,000 people five years later,” Sloan said.

That’s a lot of eye-witnesses, according to Capt. Jeremy Prince with the Graves County Sheriff’s Office. He says the exposure helps when they’re trying to find items that have been reported stolen. Prince says he’s seen sexual predators, harassment, and illegal selling on social media. But it isn’t all bad, he said.

“Overall, I would say technology has helped us be able to solve crimes, be able to collect more evidence,” Prince said.

Sloan says he has to monitor posts daily, and that he’s learned a pretty negative lesson about people over the years. “They look to search for themselves, and sometimes they don't care who they take advantage of,” 

Sloan says he removes illegal posts and reports any stolen property to authorities. He sees WIC items being sold monthly, especially baby formula.

If you buy stolen property and know it’s stolen, you can be charged if you plan to keep it. Those found to be selling government benefits like WIC can face criminal charges and be disqualified from the program.

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