Ore. police use YouTube to catch fugitives
By Rick Bella
OREGON CITY, Ore. — The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is using a popular video-sharing Web site in hopes of catching criminals.
The sheriff's office has started its own YouTube page, where deputies are posting videos on open cases, as well as public service announcements.
"It's a Web site that many people already are familiar with," said Detective Jim Strovink, sheriff's spokesman. "We hope to use the site to present information that will be useful to the public and open a two-way dialog with our deputies."
The Web page opened for business earlier this month. Deputies have posted videos on the sheriff's department's Air Patrol and Domestic Violence Unit, along with videos on the county jail and boating safety. A video by Sheriff Craig Roberts announces that the sheriff's office is hiring.
The first video deputies posted on a criminal case is a 4-minute piece on Leonard Weston Ramey Jr., who is on the FBI's Most-Wanted List for white-collar crimes. Ramey faces felony charges of securities fraud, money-laundering, racketeering and aggravated theft for allegedly scamming would-be investors in Clackamas County out of $600,000. Authorities believe he also pulled similar scams in Tacoma and California.
Strovink said Ramey is accused of running elaborate Ponzi schemes, using money from new investors to pay off older investors. He said Ramey fabricated financial reports to convince investors to give him more money, then left town.
He was last seen in the San Francisco Bay area in 2006.
"This is one of those cases that people may forget unless we bring it to their attention," Strovink said. "We'd like nothing better than to get a good tip from our YouTube page."
Copyright 2008 The Oregonian