Alleged Robber Uses Facebook to Contact Victim, Police Say

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, January 1 2013 at 6:11 PM, Updated: Wed, January 2 2013 at 1:05 PM

Action on Facebook, may have helped seal a robbery suspect's fate. It's what officers are calling a strange set of events.

Medford Police say they've seen a lot, but not this...

"I've never heard of that happening before where someone has Facebooked a victim to whom they victimized and tried to become their friend and apologize," said Sergeant Derek parks with the Medford Police Department.

According to authorities, it happened after 29-year-old Devin Patrick Thomas allegedly robbed Salon Chic on Riverside in Medford on Saturday then took off. Police weren't able to find him.

Then on Sunday, officers said Thomas stole a sign from a person advertising near the intersection of Biddle and Mcandrews in Medford.

"There were a couple different tasers deployed, neither of which were effective," said Sgt. Parks, who added that it took multiple officers to bring Thomas into custody with pepper spray, also apparently having no effect.

The owner of Salon Chic did not want to speak on camera, but over the phone, said she contacted police after she saw Thomas' mugshot online and recognized him.

But that's not all...it seems the alleged robber may have been remorseful.

According to the salon's owner, Thomas Facebook friended and messaged her saying he was willing to hand out flyers for her business to make up for the crime he allegedly admitted to in the message. 

But Salon Chic's owner said she's not convinced the alleged robber was remorseful at all, since he is accused of stealing from someone else the next day.

Police said the Facebook message and friend request helped link Thomas to the salon robbery.

"The mugshot websites are becoming useful for citizens to look through and find suspects they've seen before, but the facebook is a little strange," said Sgt. Parks.

Police said they believe Thomas was on bath salts or meth when they arrested him. However his behavior could also point to a mental health issue. According to a report, the number of mentally ill inmates in US prisons and jails quadrupled between the years 2000 and 2006, illustrating the need and importance of mental health services.

Thomas is charged with two counts of second degree robbery, theft, and resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, interfering with police, harassment and criminal mischief. His bail is set at $2,016,000.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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