Stockton Facebook Group Recovers Stolen Car in 45 Minutes

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STOCKTON --

A Stockton mother has a Facebook Crime Watch group to thank for helping to recover her stolen car.

"He takes up all my time so I don't have time to run around being an investigator," Sarah Salas said.

Salas gave birth to her son Arthur just four weeks ago. When the busy mom woke up early Tuesday morning to find that her family car had been stolen from her own driveway, she filed a police report and then posted the crime to a Facebook group called "Report Thieves - Crime in Stockton."

"Thank God he spotted it. Thank God he said something. Thank God he was a member of that group," Salas said.

A fellow group member whose family requested that he only be identified as Richard spotted Salas's silver Acura SUV near Otto Drive in Stockton. He posted a photo of the car within the group to confirm it belonged to Salas. Within 45 minutes, her car was recovered.

"I don't even know what my husband does with his Facebook," Richard's wife Debbie said.

Debbie told FOX40 she was unaware that her husband was a member of this Facebook Watch group, but was overjoyed to help the Salas family, since they have been victimized by crime in Stockton as well.

"Yeah I wish there was more people like that out there that if they see something they would speak up and just even call police, even just to say something doesn't look right, Debbie said.

There's is just one example of the this Facebook crime watch group and others like it are expanding the capabilities of community policing. In just a year and a half Report Thieves - Crime in Stockton has gained nearly 10,000 members.

"I remember when it had just 67 members. I was so excited. So that's how it got started, little by little," Veronica Martinez said.

Martinez started the group in 2014 after her mother's home in Stockton was broken into three times in a row. She told FOX40, she plead for help but no one would come forward with tips. That's when she had the idea to start a group where people could send her tips, and she could post them to let the tipsters remain anonymous.

"I think people are finally tired of the crime and they are coming together," Martinez said.

Sarah and Arthur are just glad neighbors in Stockton are keeping their eyes and ears open so they can rest easy.

"We're a city that needs a lot of help and this page helps a lot," Salas said.
The suspect(s) who stole Salas's car have not been identified. Salas said she didn't mind, since her car was found in one piece.

Report Thieves - Crime in Stockton is a private Facebook group and requires administrative approval for new members.