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Social media helps snare burglars
9ME2 Screen shot 2015 08 25 at 11.15.39 AM
Forrest Hills

A pair of suspected burglars became ensnared in a web of social media earlier this month as footage of the culprits and their apparent crimes at Forrest Hills Mountain Resort were caught on camera and shared across Facebook.

"In any criminal case like that we're happy to have surveillance video," said Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office Investigator Wesley Burnett. "But that was pretty good quality surveillance, and we were able to get a good suspect from that."

That footage was a key piece in solving the Aug. 12 crime in which 12 flat screen televisions, two refrigerators and a couch went missing from the Lumpkin County resort and conference center.

The suspects captured on camera were reportedly Brandon Ashely Hulsey, 29, and William Flowers, 51, who allegedly stole the items during the early morning hours.

Burnett said LCSO investigators received several valuable leads which stemmed from the high quality footage of the Gainesville residents exiting the building, apparently unaware they were being watched.

"They were very nonchalant about the whole thing in the video," he said.

Forrest Hills owner David Kraft said the photos of the suspects, as well as their getaway truck, quickly spread throughout the web once they were posted the morning after the burglary.

"We saw where 11,000 people had looked at it," he said. "It wasn't long before people started saying, 'He looks familiar' and finally [someone] called up and said 'I know exactly who that is.'"

Hulsey was arrested at his Gainesville residence last Thursday and charged with 12 counts of burglary.

Flowers is yet to be arrested but a warrant has been issued in his name.

This was the second such burglary of the year at Forrest Hills as 15 flat screen televisions were stolen from the resort in April.

Burnett said Hulsey and Flowers are suspects in that job as well.

"Investigators are cross referencing everything stolen from that burglary," he said.

In the meantime, Kraft said they have definitely learned the value of a good security system at Forrest Hills; so much that management will soon be adding an updated version.

"We're installing a high definition system," he said. "Next time we'll be able to tell whether or not the person has shaved or not."