Huge Internet response leads to arrests in TV thefts

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — A concerned public can claim credit for helping police arrest two suspects in last week's theft of two 42-inch LED televisions from a Rio Grande department store, an official said today.

Vincent DiFlippo, 24, of Villas, and William Nelson, 24, Lower Township, were arrested Monday, April 7 and charged with shoplifting and conspiracy in connection with the theft, said Capt. John Edwards, Middle Township Police Department.

The pair were released the same day on a summons.

Beginning Friday, and through the weekend, more than 46,000 people shared a Middle Township Police Department Facebook status after police released video of what appeared to be a brazen theft from Kmart.

In the video, one of the suspects loaded the televisions into a cart and pushed them into the Garden Center, where there is a door but no cash register. The other suspect left the store and parked a Ford Expedition outside Kmart’s Garden Center exit. In the video, two men can be seen loading televisions into an Expedition.

The video, posted through YouTube, received more than 230 shares on that service, and the police received so many tips that they removed the video, according to a police update on Facebook.

“The tips were coming in all weekend,” Edwards said. “By this weekend, we had more than 43,000 views on Facebook. That's the most we've ever had on a video.”

Edwards said the suspects were identified on Friday. They were cooperative, the captain said, and agreed to return the televisions.

Edwards said police recovered one of the televisions. The other had already been sold, he said. Edwards said the recovered television will be held as evidence, and then returned to Kmart.

“We'd like to thank the public for helping us to identify the people in the video,” the captain said.

“Thanks to public's help and social media, we were able to use little effort with a big payoff.”

On Monday, the Middle Township Police Department announced that they would also use Pinterest to keep the public updated:

Updated Tuesday, April 8 with the accurate age of the accused.

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