POLICE are warning victims of crime not to emulate a Facebook user who posted his own CCTV photos of a Chirnside Park robbery earlier this month.
On February 8, Justin McDonald posted two clear images on his Facebook page of a man robbing his friend's house about noon the previous day.
The photos, captured on Mr McDonald's friend's CCTV cameras, went viral with more than 6000 people 'sharing' the photo via their own Facebook pages in an effort to catch the thief.
The photos clearly revealed a middle-aged man in a grey T-shirt, who allegedly spent 15 minutes going through the house.
The photo caption read: "Please let me know if you recognise him, I'm happy for this to be passed on so we can catch [him]!"
Detective Senior Sergeant Allan Price, of Lilydale police, confirmed officers were investigating.
He said that while it was entirely legal to post images from your house on Facebook, victims needed to be careful when sharing information on the internet as it could affect the outcome of a court case.
"If I'm a victim I'm going to think about doing the same thing. It's an understandable response," Senior Sergeant Price said.
"But people have to be careful of a) jeopardising the case and b) becoming a victim themselves if the offender decides to take action against them."
Although the man is yet to be charged, a Victoria Police spokesman said social media comments — of which Mr McDonald's photo had more than 300 — needed to be treated with caution.
"Victoria Police understands setting up a page or site may help people feel like they are actively doing something to help a police investigation.
"However, where sites aren't actively monitored it may encourage speculation and false information to be posted, which can have a harmful impact on police investigations."
The spokesman said although in this case the burglar was yet to be charged, social media commentators had to be careful.
"If a matter is resolved and a criminal investigation has started, comments on social media may potentially affect the outcome of court matters relating to the investigation."
Senior Sergeant Price said he expected these sort of cases involving social media to increase. The Weekly could not contact Mr McDonald.