WANTED: Sexual assault suspect in Roanoke, social media helps wi - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

WANTED: Sexual assault suspect in Roanoke, social media helps with tips

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Social media is helping police generate tips during investigations .

Roanoke City Police are working to spread a composite sketch of a suspect who reportedly sexually assaulted a teenager.

The incident happened in an alley on Saturday, January 18th, between 6th Street and Patton Avenue around 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Police have spread the image all over social media to help find this man.

"This is the type of crime that's not tolerated by society," Roanoke City Police Sgt. Will Drake says. "This is something that's almost shocking to the conscious that this type of incident occurred in the neighborhood."

The photo has been shard hundreds of times and seen by thousands of people. So far, the police have taken in about fourteen tips and hope for more.

"Someone is going to see them and they are going to know them and they are going to go, 'hey this isn't right. I know this person. I know that they did," Sgt. Drake says.

Sharing information on social media is how the Patrick County Sheriff's Office found suspect Tom Chaney. Chaney was wanted for abducting and severely beating a woman. After his mug shot spread on air and online, the Henry County Sheriff's Office found Chaney in about a day.

"It's really important to help share information and to notify the community in keeping other girls safe," Sgt. Drake says.

If it takes an extra tweet, or post, police ask you join in to help them keep our community safe.

Please call the Roanoke Valley Crime Line at 540-344-8500 if you have information in the sexual assault case.