Mercer Island

Local website offers cheap way to solve crime statewide

Local website offers cheap way to solve crime statewide »Play Video

LAKE FOREST PARK, Wash. -- A crime-fighting tool cooked up by a local detective just reached a milestone of success this week. A website called "canyouid.me" offers police and the public an easy way to look at subjects connected to crime scenes. It's drummed up clues in 100 cases so far.

Lake Forest Park Detective Tony Matthews came up with the idea for a single website where investigators from around the state could post photos of subjects they are struggling to identify. Click on the photo and contact information for the investigator pops up.

"We've had a hundred subjects identified up to this point," Matthews said.

Detective Todd Roggenkamp of the Mercer Island Police Department checks it out from time to time. He says the range of people who look is what makes the website so effective.

"Other detectives and officers, corrections officers, loss prevention investigators from different retail stores," Roggenkamp said, listing just a few. Roggenkamp added that even his own postings have paid off.

"I believe I've put five or six cases up on it in the last year and I've successfully identified three people based on the tips I've received," the Mercer Island investigator said.

Not all the people depicted on the site are suspects in crimes. Some could be witnesses or persons of interest.

The site runs on a shoestring budget. It cost $2,000 to launch, with operating costs of about $200 a year. Matthews says 210 detectives from 58 police departments are participating, but he believes everyday citizens who want to help will be his best resource.

"To have something like this that works so well at this little cost, and no cost for any other department...it's a great tool," he said.

The public is welcome to browse the photo gallery on canyouid.me. We've posted a link here.