Tips Helping Police Identify Looting Suspects In Surveillance Footage
According to St. Louis County Police, tips from the public have helped identify seven looting suspects from the night of the Darren Wilson grand jury announcement.
Those individuals are wanted for questioning, according to media relations Officer Shawn McGuire.
"it's just a matter of time before they get picked up by police" or detectives locate the suspects, he said.
In recent weeks, county police have released surveillance videos from a few of at least a dozen businesses that were looted and burned. The most recent one released Tuesday shows seven suspects looting Mickey's Shop N Gas located at 11105 Old Halls Ferry Road.
"It's not very often that the police department asks for too much help. Our detectives...investigate these cases. They have their own leads. If those leads don't go to anything, that's when we release videos to the public," McGuire said. "That's why it's about three months later, after the fact, that this is happening. Our officers kind of hit a standstill."
With no arrests made yet in the lootings, McGuire said police hope that members of the public can identify more people in the sometimes blurry footage. He said people can anonymously report tips by calling county police at 314-889-2341 or Crimestoppers at 866-371-8477.
"Any little identifier, that helps. Somebody that maybe knows somebody and calls the police, that definitely helps us out," he said.
While McGuire said some on social media have criticized the police's public appeal as "doing your job," he said many people have responded. He said detectives are working on as may as 30 additional leads from the community.
McGuire also said he hopes more businesses provide footage to police.
"With some of these lootings, it's worrisome for the business as well to even deal with the police because of that threat is always in the back of their mind," he said. "We encourage businesses to do it."
McGuire said police are releasing about one video per week, so each business gets a fair amount of time for suspects to be identified.
"If you notice every week's been kind of different on the number of suspects and the quality of the video," he said. "If we released everything at once, I really think a lot of businesses...wouldn't get the fair time and fair way to identify some of these suspects. We're spreading it out...where people can look at our website, they're not overwhelmed by the number of videos they have to watch, they're not overwhelmed by the number of suspects' pictures we have to watch, because our biggest thing is every business counts."