How social media was used by Blue Door Newcastle to help identify an alleged thief in less than five hours

INCIDENT: Blue Door Newcastle used social media to help track down an alleged thief. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
INCIDENT: Blue Door Newcastle used social media to help track down an alleged thief. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The owner of Blue Door Cafe on Hunter Street in Newcastle has hailed the “power” of social media after the release of CCTV footage helped identify an alleged till thief in less than five hours. 

The popular dining business released footage of a man who had reached over a counter and stolen an unknown amount of money out of the cafe’s cash register about 3pm on Tuesday. 

Cafe owner P.J. James said the business put a still image of the man and video of the act on its social media channels two hours later. 

With some 22,000 followers on the cafe’s Instagram page, the image and footage was quickly on-shared to reach thousands of people around the Hunter. 

Mr James said the business was then inundated with about 20 responses from various sections of the community who assisted in the identification of the man. 

“We had him in five hours,” Mr James said. “The power of social media was fantastic.

“Between all our staff and sharing it on their pages, and then obviously it had gone viral, we had a name and an address.” 

Both the footage and contributed details were passed onto police, who were in the process of investigating the matter on Thursday.  

But with the identification confirmed by a number of sources, Mr James hopes charges will soon be layed. 

The hospitality veteran said the incident showed the value of social media in such incidents and how the city feels towards crime. 

“These days it is a lot harder to get away with doing the wrong thing,” Mr James said.

“Crime does not pay these days and people don’t accept it, which is great.

“It’s hard to get into the Newcastle community, but once you’re in it’s harder to get out. We all stick together, which is what Newcastle’s all about.”