The Times of India reports that Facebook helped Indore police crack a theft case where two students had picked up a motor-bike from a shopping mall in the city.
The news report says that the CCTV cameras installed in the parking area captured the image of thieves. The duo had done some shopping inside the mall and “guessing them as students, police tried to find out the accused on Facebook and traced them to Bhopal. “
The report doesn’t exactly say how Facebook helped the police catch the suspects. Did they use “face recognition” software to match the CCTV footage with the 900 million Facebook profiles? A Facebook employee told me that law enforcement agencies sometimes do approach the company for “image matching” requests – like those of missing persons – but such requests are politely declined.
The local Hindi edition of Dainik Bhaskar newspaper paints a much clear picture though.
It turns out that the duo had used credit cards to pay their shopping bills and that’s how the local police discovered their real names and addresses. The police then searched Facebook to find profiles with similar names and the profile picture of one of these Facebook profiles matched that of the person in the CCTV image.
Facebook did help the police confirm their initial suspicion but I think it’s the credit card payment that actually helped the cops nab the suspects.