EPPING – When police received a report of someone tossing two bags of trash from a vehicle on Prescott Road Tuesday, they immediately turned to Twitter to try to catch the culprit.
A witness had provided a partial license plate number, so police decided that the fastest way to get the word out was by posting a message on Twitter seeking the public's help.
Within two hours, police were able to track down the alleged litter bug, a 17-year-old, thanks to a woman who happened to read the Twitter message and noticed a vehicle with a similar license plate number.
The littering incident is the first case that Epping police were able to solve with the help of Twitter, a free social networking Web site that allows users to post brief messages that can then be viewed by anyone.
"It's certainly encouraging to know that folks are following us and are willing to help us out," Sgt. Jason Newman said.
As of yesterday, the Epping Police Department had as many as 129 followers, which are Twitter users who sign up to receive the messages known as tweets. Anyone can read the police department's tweets by visiting twitter.com/EppingNHPolice.
The number of people following Epping police has grown from only a handful just a month ago.
"It's our hope that we get more and more followers on Twitter. They'll be able to help us with more cases, whether they're minor or more serious," Newman said.
Police often post several messages a day. Sometimes they'll warn drivers to avoid certain areas because of an accident, while other times they'll give a brief description about a theft, assault or some other case being investigated.