DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Twenty-nine since Christmas Eve — that’s how many times Dallas police say a man robbed businesses in north Dallas, Irving, and Carrollton. But the crime spree is now over, thanks to an arrest created, in part, by social media.
So far, three separate criminal charges have been filed against Robert Louis Jones and a score of others are expected to follow.
“We believe Robert Jones has committed as many as 29 robbery offenses in 55 days,” said Lt. David Pughes with the Dallas Police Department.
Police investigators say social media is becoming an emerging tool for fighting similar crimes.
Video that aired on TV and was posted online led to the tip that started the ‘dominoes falling’ against Jones.
Police say the man in the video Robert Louis Jones, 34, whom they describe as a vagabond that lived in various places in Dallas.
Police say Jones told them that when he got laid off he turned to robbing stores.
According to police, Jones would pretend to show his check register to a cashier, but he had really written a note demanding money.
After police put surveillance video on YouTube they began receiving tips leading them to Jones.
“We brought him down to DPD headquarters where he was questioned by robbery detectives and admitted to committing at least 29 of these robbery offenses,” said Lt. Pughes.
Police gave the tips even more credibility because while the getaway car was never described in any of the robberies, the tipster knew the vehicle was a silver Toyota.
DPD officials say, now more than ever, they’re viewing social media as a positive resource and the wave of the future. “It’s something we’re going to use more of. There’s certain cases that are going to be more likely to use social media outlets,” said Lt. Pughes.
Since no weapon was displayed in any of the robberies, so far Jones is facing robbery charges in three cities in both Dallas and Denton counties.