NewsTreasure CoastRegion St Lucie CountyPort St Lucie


Treasure Coast High Snapchat threat shows how quickly police can find source of social media posts

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 18:08:27-05

Port St. Lucie quickly found the origin of a social media threat they were tipped off about around 10 p.m. Monday night. 

Police say a Treasure Coast High School student posted a picture of a gun on his Snapchat app with a caption that read, "I dare anyone to come to school Tuesday." 

Within hours police were at thr 14-year-old's home, talking to him and his parents. 

Investigating crimes or threats on social media is becoming more of a norm for some police departments. 

The app 'Snapchat' is known for being a platform where users can post videos or pictures that are only visible to their 'friends' for a certain amount of time and get automatically deleted after 24 hours. 

"Stuff is designed to be deleted, but then again there's still ways around it where you can screenshot something," said Alan Crowetz, WPTV's Technology Expert at

Crowetz said the content of your post may be gone from the app, but rest assured it's living somewhere forever and police can get it quickly. 

"All the social media sites have a way to subpoena them for records," added Crowetz. 

Corporal Brian Broughton with the Martin County Sheriff's Office agrees. He said he's had similar cases to this one before. 

"During the course of their [social media companies] business, they do keep a lot of information of their customers; which is great for law enforcement," said Corporal Broughton. 

Social media has opened a whole new way to investigate crimes. 

From the famous 2016 Palm Beach County Sheriff's tweet responding to a woman asking to buy marijuana, to a student's threat to shoot up a Florida Atlantic University campus breezeway in 2015 posted to an anonymous social media site, detectives have ways to find the source of any post. 

"If you post something on the internet you might as well engrave it on the side of Mount Rushmore. It's out there, it's been copies, it's been backed up, and it's probably been shared," added Crowetz. 

For tips on social media safety go to