Facebook helps cops find theft suspects

Public responds to picture posts

The Storm Lake Police Department’s Facebook page has led the police department to several charges in a theft investigation.

On April 4 the police took a theft report at the Storm Lake Walmart, where a man and woman left the store with $300 worth of merchandise in a cart without paying for it.

They fled in a vehicle.

Police examined security cameras at the store and after being unable to identify the suspects, police posted the suspects’ photographs on the SLPD Facebook page.

Within hours of posting the photos, police received multiple tips as to the identity of the two suspects.

Police identified the suspects as Adam Gilson, 29, and Cori Benson, 26, both of Fort Dodge.

Police further identified a second female as allegedly being involved in the theft of over $1,000 in electronic merchandise from Walmart on July 13, 2013.

The second woman suspect from the July theft was Brittany Conant, 23, of Dayton.

The investigation revealed that Gilson had been served notice by Walmart to not be on Walmart property due to past theft incidents.

The Storm Lake Police Department charged Conant with theft. She was being held in the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville on an unrelated charge when the warrant was issued. A hold on the SLPD charge was forwarded to the facility.

Warrants were issued by the SLPD charging Gilson with two counts of theft and two counts of criminal trespass.

A warrant was also issued charging Benson with theft.

On May 3 both Gilson and Benson were located and arrested by the Tama County Sheriff’s Department. Tama County charged Gilson with two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, interference with official acts and providing false information. Gilson and Benson were jailed in Tama County.

“Our Facebook followers really broke this case wide open for us,” Assistant Chief Todd Erskine said. “We really appreciate their willingness to step forward.”