Victims of theft, should not be surprised when missing merchandise turns up on one of several popular internet auction sites, such as ebay.
That is where local police departments are now searching in an effort to track down thieves trying to sell "hot" goods online.
And in some cases they are just a "click" away from finding the suspect behind the theft.
"What we will do is, we will contact ebay, and they have a database we can go into and we can look for that specific equipment, and then when we find it, we can go and see who is exactly trying to sell it," said Sergeant Craig Anderson of the College Station Police Department.
Bryan Police Detective Jerry Eyre said, "I was able to actually locate the items that were stolen and missing."
Eyre was able to use ebay to track down some items stolen from the Bryan Municipal building.
"In that case we had a known suspect, we had a username for that suspect, so it was just a case of going online, logging on ebay, typing his username in and seeing what items he had for sale," said Eyre. "I compared those items to what were reported stolen form the municipal building and just put two and two together. Super simple."
College Station Police Department has also had success scanning the internet for stolen property.
And sometimes, the victims join in the hunt.
"We have had a lot of success, we have had some cases where we looked on there and we found the property," said Anderson. "Or the different corporations that (were) tracking it down, they found it and they let us know about it, and then we continued the search from there."
Both police stations, report using the site only after a tip has steered them in that direction. However, when they do find themselves surfing the web for stolen items, the online marketplace is more than ready to help.
"Ebay is very law enforcement friendly, and they will provide you with a lot of information, to assist in the investigation," said Eyre.
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