By News Sentinel staff
March 9, 2011
LENOIR CITY – The Loudon County Sheriff's Department is now using LeadsOnline - a system that enables detectives to search for suspects and stolen property at secondhand stores, scrap metal dealers, pawnshops and Internet stores like eBay, both locally and nationwide.
The system equips criminal investigators with the ability to instantly solve crimes and to return goods to their rightful owners, according to a press release from Sheriff Tim Guider.
Property can be searched using serial numbers, a suspect's name and item descriptions, among other information, according to the release. Most searches are completed within seconds.
Before, investigators had to undertake a time-consuming process of visiting all the stores in the area, collecting paper tickets and computer diskettes and manually filing the tickets into a database. Keeping up with the volume of information was costly and overwhelming, officials said, and detectives were limited to searching for stolen property within the county.
With LeadsOnline, information is automatically collected from businesses each day, according to the release. Loudon County businesses that accept merchandise from the public throughout the area are now reporting electronically via LeadsOnline.
"This is the largest online investigative system of its kind nationwide," Guider wrote in a press release. "Our investigators are using it to solve crimes ranging from burglaries to homicides by instantly searching for missing items in the transaction records of businesses across the area and the country. We appreciate the support of our local businesses as they work with us to serve our community."