Police use computer software program to catch criminals - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Police use computer software program to catch criminals

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If you can identify this man, call Myrtle Beach Police. (Source: MBPD) If you can identify this man, call Myrtle Beach Police. (Source: MBPD)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A forensic artist has created the sketch of a man Myrtle Beach Police believe sexually assaulted a woman in a parking lot.

That crime was allegedly committed on December 16 in the parking lot behind a home on Somerset Drive. The victim says she saw the man walking past her house several times before the assault.

The suspect is a white male standing 5'09' tall and weighing approximately 200 pounds. He has short "scruffy" blond hair.

Thom Berry with the State Law Enforcement Division says the forensic artists they employ have substantial training and qualifications, asking lots of questions of the victim or witness to create an accurate sketch.

This case is the first since 2011 where Myrtle Beach Police called on SLED's forensic artists to help in their investigation.

MBPD say it typically uses its computer software program called, "Identikit" to process sketches of alleged suspects. It has a collection of facial features, and based on the witness and/or victim's description of the suspect, it puts together a drawing.

Myrtle Beach Police Detective Michael Quinn said it's most useful when a victim and/or witness remembers the facial features of the alleged suspect.

"We would ask them do you think you'd recognize them again if you saw them? And if they say yes, would you be able to do  a composite with us? And if they say yes, we keep it on a laptop so we're mobile, we can go to them or we just go to them down here so if there's any chance that we can do it in a situation we need one, we will," Detective Quinn said.

Detective Quinn said the software is an inexpensive solution to catching criminals when there isn't other evidence available.

"For example, say there was a purse snatching where there was no video in the area that it occurred, the suspect is unknown to our victim but they could recognize the face if they saw them again, we would sit down with them and go through that and try to develop a picture," Detective Quinn said.

Quinn said the department has been using the software for less than a year, and it has already helped solve a case.

"We've solved a case with it already. We've had one case where an attempted criminal sexual conduct had occurred, the picture was done and developed some suspects from there and then a positive ID was made from there and then an arrest," Detective Quinn said.

If you can identify this man or see someone matching this description, please contact Myrtle Beach Police.

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