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Community goes nuts over police department's squirrel mug shot to catch thief

After about 28,000 pounds of packaged nuts were stolen in a Detroit suburb, the town's police department found an innovative way to ask its community for help.
/ Source: TODAY

After roughly 28,000 pounds of packaged nuts were stolen in the Detroit suburb of Shelby Township, Michigan, the town found an innovative way to ask its community for help catching the culprit.

According to local police, a semi-tractor/trailer holding 18 pallets of walnuts and other nuts was stolen from Shelby Township the weekend of June 27. The truck and trailer were reportedly found four days later, missing the nuts valuing over $128,000.

To help find the thief, the Shelby Township Police Department turned to Facebook — and posted a mug shot of "The Squirrel," asking residents to help find the culprit.

Although the post specifies that “the squirrel is not a suspect. It's just a picture. Used to draw attention. Please do not call in squirrel sightings,” the department's Facebook community has responded positively to the post. It's been shared more than 780 times, and many commenters have praised the department's sense of humor.

“My boss asked me to put out a statement about the stolen cargo,” Leslie Heisler, the Community Resource Officer for the Shelby Township PD told Heisler said that she knew she wanted to share a photo because they are liked and shared more often on Facebook than a text-only post.

"I didn't want to just put a picture of a truck or of a box of walnuts," she said. "So, I google imaged 'squirrel' and found our criminal friend on Zazzle. What it was really about was trying to get the story out to as many people, as many sets of eyes and ears, as we could... because we find that policing with the community is much more effective than policing at the community.”

Anyone with information on the stolen snack nuts is asked to call the Shelby Township Police Department.