Local News

Fuquay-Varina police say social media led to speedy arrest of Aviator armed robbery suspect

Posted August 17, 2017 4:31 p.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2017 6:50 p.m. EDT

— The Fuquay-Varina police chief says social media helped lead to a speedy arrest of a suspect who robbed several people at gunpoint over the weekend.

Younikue Shai'kem Stewart, 20, of Apex, was charged with several counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon. Police say Stewart robbed six people on Sunday morning at Aviator Taphouse, making off with about $1,000.

"(He) asked everyone to hand over their money. He had a gun in his waistband, wore a bandana, he had some big welding gloves on," said Mark Doble, Aviator Brewing Company's CEO. "The staff did the right thing by handing over teh cash."

Stewart was caught on surveillance cameras. The video was posted to Facebook by police.

"Tuesday night we got a tip in," said Chief Laura Fahnestock. "We followed up on that tip yesterday from someone viewing that video and that enabled us to identify the suspect."

Fahnestock iniated the agency's social media presence in 2015.

"We're reaching people that we were never able to reach before, she said.

She posts about how police are interacting with the community, safety tips and information about unsolved cases.

"Law enforcement cannot solve crimes alone. We have to have the assistance from the public," Fahnestock said.

"The power of the people," Doble said. "Everyone sees it and people want to help naturally. They got an anonymous tip and it led right to his house in Apex."

Fahnestock said the key is letting people know how they can help her officers.

"We've had wonderful response from that," she said.

Stewart made his first court appearance Thursday. He remains in jail under a $1.4 million bond.