What you need to know: Social media posts can expose criminal activity

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Do you know what to do if you see possible criminal activity online?

Police are investigating a photo posted online that shows multiple people pointing guns at the camera. There are sometimes situations like this that lead to arrests and police want you to know what to do if you see something like it.

A Facebook picture full of guns and gang signs can lead to an investigation for several reasons. Possibly the most important: the guns pointed at the camera could be in the hands of convicted felons. Multiple arrests were made in a similar incident in 2016.

A mannequin challenge video showing convicted felons pointing guns was posted on YouTube. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office got involved.

“They did some other investigations around that video and had some additional charges that came about,” said Lt. Donny Shaw with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

Police look for felony convicts with firearms and any other illegal activity associated with the address. 

Of course, it’s not illegal to point a gun at a camera for a picture. But hoax threats via text or social media are federal crimes.

“What would you do if you saw something like this on your kids’ Facebook?” WZDX News asked one local man.

“Tell them you make better judgement because a gun is not a toy,” said Joseph Lavender.

“If I saw a picture like that and it happened to be someone in my neighborhood I’d get a little nervous and kind of wonder what that’s about,” said Wanda Vollmer. “Probably talk to my other neighbors and find out what the situation was.”

Police encourage you to submit an anonymous tip. Take a screenshot and put it in an anonymous email on the law enforcement agency’s website.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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