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Police Use Social Networking to Target Underage Drinkers

Posted Nov 25, 2009 3:59 PM CDT
By Sarah Mui

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At least eight people have been cited by the La Crosse, Wis., police department for underage drinking based on incriminating photos on social media sites.

Nineteen-year-old Adam Bauer told the La Crosse Tribune last week that he accepted a friend request last month from a stranger. "She was a good-looking girl. I usually don’t accept friends I don’t know, but I randomly accepted this one for some reason,” he said.

Bauer thinks this connection led to an invitation to the La Crosse police station, where officers had Facebook photos of Bauer holding a beer. He was ticketed, pleaded no contest and will pay a $227 fine.

"Law enforcement has to evolve with technology,” said La Crosse police officer Al Iverson. “It has to happen. It is a necessity—not just for underage drinking.”

Cassie Stenholt was also confronted with Facebook photos of her drinking, pleaded no contest and received a ticket and fine.

“I feel like it is a breach of privacy,” Cassie Stenholt said of the use of Facebook photos as evidence. “You feel like you should be able to trust cops.”

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