Video surveillance solves crime dubbed 'flash rob'

Greg Sowinski

January 14, 2014

LIMA — The ability to use video surveillance to solve crime is a powerful crime-fighting tool, as events Tuesday proved.

Lima Police Department officers discovered and solved a mass shoplifting incident within hours after the month-old crime appeared on YouTube.

Police officials said they have identified all the teenagers responsible for shoplifting in a video dubbed “Flash Rob” that was making its way around social media sites. The teens were expected to be charged with misdemeanors sometime this week, Lima Police Department Maj. Chip Protsman said.

A link to the video was forwarded to The Lima News, police investigators and others on Tuesday. By the afternoon, investgiators identified the teens in the video, which showed at least a half dozen teens inside a store grabbing items at the Riverview Drive Thru, 214 S. Pine St., Lima, before walking out on Dec. 18.

Police were unaware the crime took place because the owners of the business never reported it. The owners told officers they assumed nothing could be done because they did not have names, and the teens all got away, Protsman said.

The owners filed a report Tuesday, he said. They took the video off YouTube on Tuesday afternoon.

Protsman said this is the only known incident where numerous teens entered a business to commit a mass shoplifting crime.