Nocona Facebook page helps solve crime

MONTAGUE COUNTY,TX (KAUZ) - A Nocona Facebook watch group is providing crime tips to law enforcement as Montague County brings back Crime Stoppers.

The group was formed after a recent increase in day-time burglaries.

A home on the 18000 block of FM 103 was one of the first homes to be targeted by burglars on August 31.

That home belonged to Brian Ritchie's father. Ritchie created Nocona Watch Group on Facebook soon after to stop more crimes from being committed in his neighborhood.

"They stole a bunch of guns and jewelry," Ritchie said. "One of the main guns belonged to my grandfather who died when I was seven."

With Montague County Crime Stoppers still not certified to receive tips, Nocona residents share crime tips between each other on the Facebook page.

Law enforcement officials also monitor the page.

"Some of the leads we have been getting we read and [were] using those posts," Montague County Sheriff Marshall Thomas said.

"It's probably hard for law enforcement to keep with all of the leads they are getting," Ritchie said.

Sheriff Thomas said residents being more aware is helpful but he would like them to report the tips to law enforcement, not only on Facebook.

"These tips aren't being called to our office," Sheriff Thomas said. "We're way behind the ball when they reported it."

The tips helped catch some of the criminals that broke into Ritchie's father's home. One of the suspects was arrested for retaliating against Ritchie and the person who posted the tip.

"He came here and started and yelling at us," Ritchie said. "We came out and confronted him, he took off and ran into the grocery store."

Ritchie said burglaries may be commonplace in the big city but it is nothing he wants to get accustomed to.

"I don't choose to live in Dallas and I don't choose to live in other places," he said. "I want our town cleaned up."

Sheriff Thomas said members of the Montague County Crime Stoppers need to attend a training program on October before they apply for certification to receive tips from the Crime Stoppers National Program.

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