Social media helps St. Paul police catch criminal

- Late last week, St Paul police arrested a Daulon Sampson who they say attacked and robbed a 76-year old Good Samaritan. Now the St. Paul Police Department is crediting Facebook with helping identify Sampson.

Everything started last Thursday at the intersection of Milton Street and Lafon Ave in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. That is where investigators say a 76-year-old was giving the suspect a ride when the suspect got of the car and tackled him, taking his jacket, wallet and cell phone.

Just a few minutes before the alleged attack, both men had been at a Super America where surveillance video would set the stage for a speedy arrest.

Captured on surveillance cameras the two dollar heist was sloppy and all too obvious, but it's what happened next that turned this petty, forgettable crime into a priority.

"Here was somebody who picked on one of our vulnerable elderly residents who was just lending a helping hand," said senior commander Tina McNamara with the St. Paul Police Department.

St. Paul police say the 76-year-old was assaulted and robbed after offering Sampson a ride. Within hours of reviewing the report McNamara took the search for Sampson to Facebook

"According to this it reached 15,360 people with 273 shares.”

Before long the phones at St. Paul police headquarters were ringing,

On the other end were Sampson’s family members, neighbors and local businesses all hoping to give police information that might lead to his arrest.

"The quality of the photos was outstanding, the quality of the video was outstanding and it went out quickly."

According to investigators that speed made all the difference.  Less than two days after the alleged robbery, Sampson was arrested, an unusual and speedy conclusion made possible by social media

The 76-year-old victim is still recovering after suffering a severe leg injury as well as cuts on his face and body.    

Sampson remains behind bars and is facing one count of first degree aggravated robbery.

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