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Geist neighbors use social networking site to help police catch suspect

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(July 14, 2015) – It's an app designed to help you connect with your neighbors.

For the first time in one Geist neighborhood, the Nextdoor app was used to help police track down a criminal.

"Geist is a very safe area so for something like this to happen is very unusual," said resident Josh McNair.

Tuesday morning, McNair posted his first urgent alert on the private social network after he saw police officers in the front yard of his Feather Cove neighborhood.

McNair says officers told him to get inside, lock his doors and call 911 if he saw the suspect they were chasing.

"Police told me they were looking for a man with a turquoise shirt," said McNair.

McNair's urgent alert went to every neighbor connected through Nextdoor.

"We didn`t know if this guy was armed. Was he dangerous? All we knew was that there was a criminal loose in our neighborhood," said McNair.

Neighbor Robin Vigliano added, "We've already had quite a bit of break-ins in this neighborhood, so everybody was on high alert."

Neighbors followed the posts and watched for the burglary suspect from their homes. More than half a dozen neighbors called 911, tracking the suspect and leading Lawrence police right to him!

"They gave the information. They saw something. They said something. It's exactly what we ask folks to do," explained Captain Gary Woodruff with the Lawrence Police Department.

Lawrence police arrested a 17-year-old burglary suspect. He is preliminarily charged with resisting law enforcement. Two other suspects got away.

Nextdoor's spokesperson tells FOX59 more than 1,000 neighborhoods in the greater Indianapolis area are using Nextdoor to connect with their communities.

Additionally, more than 16 percent of the conversations are related to crime and safety.