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Episode 27 – Stolen Clothes and Social Media

Stolen Clothes and The Power Of Social Media


      A couple of nights ago I received a call from the Police Department of the town where one of my stores is located. A customer had completed her wash and moved the clothes to two of the dryers. She then had to go and pick up her kids from school so she left the store. One the way back she had a flat tire and changed it about a block from the store.

      When she returned her clothes were gone. She checked with two other women in the store and was told that another lady had just taken them.

      Her husband left in the direction the women had indicated.

      As the lady called the police the other women left the store.

      I was called to see if I could come up and look at the cameras and see if we could determine who took the clothes. After reviewing the video we found out it was the two women that were in the store and the clothes were actually in their truck when they were asked about it.

      I told her it would take me a little while to get the video reviewed and pull out the parts that may show who they were and I would post it on the Laundromats Facebook Page.

      I returned home with the saved video and found out I had saved the information for the wrong date.

      I posted on Facebook that the issue had happened and pictures and video would follow. The customer that had lost the clothes had already made some posts on her Facebook page about the issue.

      The next morning I went back to the store to collect and edit the video. I captured some still pictures and posted them on the page and then uploaded 3 videos.

      The page views for one of the videos was over 100 within the hour. I saved all of the video and pictures and created a “How To” page for the video player and dropped off the file to the Police station. We did a quick review to make sure the files were OK and I left it up to them.

      During the day I checked on the Facebook Analytics.


      The reach, page likes and shares just kept increasing.  The City had a population of just over 5,000 people but the posts had a total reach of over 8,600 by late in the day.

      Around 7pm I was looking at some comments and someone had asked about the post that the suspects had been found.

      I looked at the original customers status and saw

      “The police caught the girls who stole our clothes and recovered all our property!!!!!!! Girls are both in custody and warrants being sworn out by the sheriff tomorrow to send them to jail for term!! GOD IS SOOOOO STINKING AMAZING!!!!! Thanks to all who prayed and shared our status!!!!”

      It seems the vehicle had been spotted and was followed. The suspects dumped the clothes into a dumpster. The bags were then retrieved.

      Once they were arrested it turned out they lied about that and the clothes were still at their house.

      All of this happened in about 24 hours.


      At the time of writing this post they are still sorting things out and I’m sure there will be some charges against the suspects but fortunately the customer got most of her items back.      

      There are a few things that come up in this story we can learn from for our businesses.      
– Have cameras that work and know how to get the information out. In this particular store I had some problems with squirrels getting in the attic and eating the camera wires. I made sure I had at least a couple working until I could get things fixed.      
– Make sure you camera angles cover your important areas (the change machine is number one) but also consider what will support the police in an investigation. (parking lots)      
– Have a Facebook and or other Social Media page. Be ready to use it and be able to post the information.      – Work with your customers quickly if they have an issue. Some have the thoughts that they don’t want to post bad information about their stores on their pages. You can always take it down later but in this case the page was seen by more than the population of the city and my page Likes increased by over 10%.      
– Make it easy for the Police. I provided them a copy of all the raw video including the required Player file, still pictures of the suspects and vehicle, “ready to play” mp4 files of the best angle and the actual crime of them leaving the store and a “How To” page to explain the file names of the video files.     
      Check back soon and I will post a video showing how I made the information for the Facebook posts and what I provided to the Police.
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