A business owner in Gimli, Manitoba, Canada, took to Facebook to find the young man who stole from his store.
Stefan Tergesen, who owns H.P. Tergesen's, said he posted surveillance video online after his store was robbed of dozens of watches -- more than $1,900 in merchandise -- on March 4. The robber reportedly broke a window, smashed a display case and stole the watches from the 117-year-old store.
Tergesen decided to use social media to see if he could find the man who robbed him.
"I took a little snippet of him that showed him best and put it on Instagram and Facebook and asked friends and clientele to share it around," Tergesen told CBC. The video was shared more than 10,000 times, with six people identifying the thief and contacting him about it.
Instead of turning the information over to police, Tergesen took the bold step of finding the suspect on Facebook and adding him as a friend. Soon after, the suspect messaged Tergesen and admitted responsibility for the robbery.
"I only wish I had been there to see his face when he saw my friend request," he told Global News. "He messaged me and said he felt bad for what he did, and would return the stolen merchandise and turn himself in."
In the message, the suspect said he felt guilty for what happened.
"I turned myself in, I couldn't live with what I did and I'll be returning everything," he wrote. "I'm willing to face the consequences and I couldn't be more sorry for what I did. I was intoxicated and not in my right mindset."
Tergesen responded, telling the suspect that he did the right thing.
"I'm sure that he had already heard from enough of his friends, and probably even seen the video online, because it had spread around so much. I think he pretty much knew that there was no hope for him," he told CBC. "I made it clear to him that I had a complete inventory of what was missing and that he better bring it all back."
The suspect did, according to police turn himself in and "identified himself as the person responsible for the theft." Although authorities said they understood why Tergesen searched for the suspect directly, they advised that others in similar situations pass information on to them.
"The [behavior] of criminals and desperate individuals is unpredictable," Sgt. Bert Paquet told Global News. "And one should certainly avoid meeting them or engaging on a direct level.”
No charges have been filed against the suspect.