Facebook tips lead to software theft arrests

Published 11:43 am Friday, October 7, 2011

Tips gathered from a posting on the Clanton Police Department’s Facebook page led to the arrest of a couple wanted for stealing thousands of dollars worth of computer software from Walmart.

Clanton detectives have arrested Amy Christine Geertsma in connection with the theft, which occurred back on July 26. Geertsma, along with Jeremy Vincent, allegedly pulled off the same type of thefts at approximately 10 different Walmart stores between Mobile and Kentucky.

The stolen computer software — more than $6,000 worth from Clanton alone — was being sold on eBay, authorities said.

“Cpl. Robert Bland did a great job in working this case,” said Police Chief Brian Stilwell. “His work and numerous tips led to the suspects being identified and located in Bowling Green, Ky.

Bland worked with detectives in Bowling Green to apprehend both suspects. When Kentucky officers went to execute Clanton’s arrest warrants they discovered Vincent had assumed the identity of Geertsma’s estranged husband to avoid arrest on numerous charges pending there.

“Mr. Vincent had completely assumed Mr. Geertsma’s identity to avoid numerous warrants,” Stilwell said.

Vincent is currently in the Warren County (Ky.) Jail facing charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft of identity, giving false information to avoid prosecution, possession of marijuana and a probation violation, as well as his warrants from Clanton.

Amy Geertsma waived extradition from Kentucky and has been brought back to the Chilton County Jail, where she is being held under a $30,000 bond.

Bland said he wants to thank all the agencies involved in the case from Greenville, Ala. to Bowling Green, Ky.

Numerous tips came in from Kentucky and California after Clanton posted about the case on its Facebook page.

“We find this a lot. The interstate is a great economic engine for Clanton, but it also brings us out-of-town criminals,” said Stilwell. “We have worked several cases where people are just traveling up and down the interstate committing thefts hoping we won’t come after them. I hate to disappoint — but when we find you, we will come get you.”