Clear Instagram photo leads to conviction of a Philly purse-snatcher

Social media has actually helped solve at least one crime here in Philly.

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Social media has actually helped solve at least one crime here in Philly.

It was back in February when an Instagram user posted a remarkably clear photo of a man running down Walnut Street with a stolen purse from Stuart Weitzman valued at $775. We at Billy Penn stumbled across it on Instagram, and brought it to the attention of Joe Murray, a Philadelphia Police detective active on Twitter.

Murray shared the image with Sgt. Phil McAlorum of the 9th District, who noticed the same person in the Apple Store two months later on April 10 and had him detained.

That man, Julius Vanquine III, 21, was found guilty on theft charges by a jury on Monday.

According to court paperwork, Vanquine, of the 2300 block of S. 70th St., was seen by a number of people stealing a purse at 10:30 a.m. from Stuart Weitzman, located at 1711 Walnut Street. A passerby took a photo and shared it.

Two months later, McAlorum spotted the man at the Apple Store on Walnut Street and called in two more police officers, and had Vaquine arrested. After that, a witness positively identified him as the man who snatched the expensive bag from the store.

Vanquine was subsequently charged with retail theft and pleaded not guilty, but a jury convicted him Monday. He was sentenced to a year of probation that’s running concurrently with sentencing on unrelated firearms charges. Vanquine remains in custody at the Philadelphia House of Corrections in relation to those charges.

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