The Missoula Police Department uses every tool in their toolbox to bring criminals to justice, and sometimes, the public gets to lend a hand, this time through Facebook.

Public Information Officer Travis Welsh said on Tuesday, that the public responded to a recent post on the City of Missoula Police Department Facebook page to help identify two people suspected of petty theft.

"That's why we opened up our Facebook page, to have another line of communication with the public," Welsh said. "In this particular case, it paid off rather quickly when two suspects involved in a theft at a local department store were identified by someone who saw the post on our page."

Welsh said the interaction through social media with the police department is on the rise.

"I think it's steadily building," he said. "As we have more and more visitors to our page and more people follow it, they are seeing what we're putting on there and I think people take an interest in it, and if they can help us out, a lot of them take the opportunity to do just that."

Welsh said there are always clear instructions as to how to contact the officer involved with any helpful information.

"I usually put the investigating officer's name and a contact number on the post," he continued. "That's the most direct way to get the information to the investigator, or they can send us a private message, and we can pass the information along to the investigating officer."

The two individuals in this case, a male and a female, were identified and the investigation continues, thanks to an alert citizen with a computer and a telephone.

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