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Facebook page helps cop nab suspect

Heather Chapin-Fowler • Feb 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

For the first time in the New London Police Department's history, an arrest was made solely by tips received within hours after the suspect's information was posted on Facebook.

About noon Friday, Police Chief Mike Marko posted a request to the public in finding John Loyer, 20, who was considered a "former village resident," according to the Facebook post.

Feb. 6, Loyer was accused of shattering the front windshield of another village resident's vehicle, according to Marko's post.

"Attempts to locate him have been unsuccessful. If you know his whereabouts please contact the police department...Remember you can remain anonymous," the chief wrote.

Not even five hours later, Loyer was in police custody after being located at one of his friend's homes.

Loyer was expecting to be arrested and told police "he heard through the grapevine" that officers were moving in on him.

"He was interviewed by Sgt. Joe Hicks and confessed immediately," Marko said yesterday. Loyer knew why he was arrested and explained to police that he was talking to his former girlfriend and became frustrated.

"He was frustrated at the breakup and while talking to the young lady, he just took it out on the car. He punched the windshield (and) broke it," Marko said.

The incident occurred at the West Main Street bowling alley, Marko added. Part of the evidence in addition to witness statements included photographs of Loyer's hand that was still swollen from the impact against the glass, Marko said.

As far as the tips that came pouring in about Loyer, the chief never expected to get the number of responses.

"A tip of the appreciation hat to all who came forward with information," Marko wrote at 4:51 p.m. Friday as he announced Loyer had been located.

"We were overwhelmed," Marko said of the number of tips that came in. As the tips came in, the police department followed up on each of them until they had Loyer in custody.

This marks the first time in the department's history using Facebook as a tool to net an arrest, Marko said.

"I think it's a great tool to have. I'm just happy we had as many people with responses who came forward," Marko said, adding that he never expected the large number of people to help out the department.

"We were overwhelmed with the amount of responses. I think we have a very good working relationship with the community and our Facebook friends," Marko said.

Loyer was released after being interviewed and served with a summons to appear for a hearing in Norwalk Municipal Court.

He was charged by police with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor of the third degree which could result in not only a fine but also jail time, Marko said.

"We will be asking for restitution on the damages," the chief added.

Loyer has had minor run-ins with the local police in the past, Marko also said.

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