Facebook post helps police catch purse snatcher
LAKE GENEVA - Surveillance video shows a woman boldly going behind the counter at the Next Door Pub in Lake Geneva, grabbing two purses, and getting out of dodge. One of the bags belongs to Calli Brellenthin. She works at the restaurant and had just gone on break.
“The next thing I knew,Ii looked down and our purses were gone," Brellenthin says.
The restaurant handed their footage over to police, who told them the suspect had already hit Sprecher's on the other side of town. So detectives used a different kind of weapon in their arsenal to identify the thief.
"We decided then to put a still shot of that surveillance video on our Facebook page because we do have about 1300 users on that," explains Lt. Ed Gritzner of Lake Genva Police.
In one day, they turned it into 132,000 shares.
"It solved it for us", says Lt. Gritzner. "After time, I think we would have found out who it was. But looking at the blurry photo, it really takes someone who knows the suspect to identify them."
And someone did. Police arrested 29-year-old Danielle Zitzler.
"This tells us Facebook readers are watching what is going on, so it's working out for the best," says Brellenthin.
Nobody came to the door at Zitzler's home. It's just as well for detectives, who believe the picture says it all.
"If somebody's thinking of committing a crime in Lake Geneva, we're going to continue to look and we might have a 132,000 of our friends helping search with us," Lt. Gritzner says.
Calli tells us she got everything back but the cash she had in her wallet. The DA's office says the case is still under review.