Online community pulls together: Stolen car recovered thanks to Twitter and Facebook (From This Is Local London)
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Online community pulls together: Stolen car recovered thanks to Twitter and Facebook
A £100,000 stolen car was quickly found and recovered yesterday thanks to social media.
Burglars broke into a home in Outwood Lane, opposite Banstead Woods, and stole a dark blue Audi RS7 from the driveway at about 10am.
Victim Denise French, 50, contacted community Facebook group What’s on in Banstead and her appeal was posted online that afternoon.
At about 8.30pm a Facebook user got in touch through the group to say the stolen car was in his street in Beddington.
The discovery was reported to the Met Police, but later that evening Surrey Police's Roads Policing Unit asked via Twitter if anyone had seen the car, which they said was worth £100,000.
The man behind What’s in Banstead, who asked not to be named, said he sent a Twitter message to the unit and Chief Constable Lynne Owens. Within 10 minutes police were on the scene in Beddington.
He said: "The person who found the car is over the moon, the car owner is flabbergasted and the chief constable was great in getting boots on the ground.
"It’s nice to have a happy ending from social media. I was just the middleman in transferring the information."
Mrs French’s appeal on What’s on in Banstead said: "They broke in the back door and exited through a front window. They got away with a car - a blue Audi [R]S7 and they wrecked the house in the process of trying to find the keys."
Today she told the Epsom Guardian: "It’s with police at the moment. We were absolutely amazed by people’s interest and concern that they have looked out for it.
"I couldn’t believe how What’s on in Banstead and all its followers pulled together. It was really, really kind."
Surrey Police's Roads Policing Unit posted on Twitter: "Thank you for all the re-tweets about the stolen Audi RS7. It's been located and we have a unit towards to get it recovered for forensics."
Officers investigating the burglary are urging witnesses who may have seen a man in the area at the time of the burglary to come forward.
The tall white man in his mid-40s had an eastern European accent and dark hair. He was dressed smartly in a light grey suit.
A Surrey Police spokesman said: "This demonstrates the power of social media and the role it can play in helping solve crime, and just as importantly, reuniting owners with stolen possessions.
"What is equally as pleasing is the willingness of the public to help in this instance, as without their help we would not have been able to locate the vehicle as quickly - their support is absolutely invaluable.
"Surrey Police is a forward thinking force and remains open to using all resources at its disposal to bring offenders to justice and locate stolen property."
Anyone with information should contact Surrey Police via the online reporting system at www.surrey.police.uk or on 101, quoting reference 45140049886.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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