SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Like several other police agencies around the country, the San Francisco Police Department is increasingly using social media and online resources to help solve cases.

The most recent example – officers at the Bayview Station got a call about an armed man on a San Francisco Muni bus near Third and Palou streets.

Undercover officers who were in the area quickly found three men who were breathing and sweating heavily as if they had been running. All were known to the officers. While police searched the area, the three fled the scene and cops found a loaded .45-caliber pistol nearby. But the question is whose gun it was?

Police ended up checking Instagram and found a photo of a man, who had been standing closest to where the pistol was, who had recently posted a photo of himself posing with a handgun. Turns out that gun was exactly like the one police had found.

Police arrested the suspect the next day on 14 weapons charges.

A few nights later, an undercover cop logged on to Instagram to check on what members of a gang called the Zoo Block were doing. Up popped a picture of one of the crew members, who was out on bail on two pending gun cases. He was posing with a couple of friends.

Police were able to figure out where the person was from the background of the picture. When officers drove up to check the area, the “Instagram star” tossed a 9mm pistol into a garbage can and took off running. Police were able to pick him up later that day.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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