The digital bulletin board of social media showed its power in an explosive manner tonight. Just before 9:00 Pennsylvania State Police extended an Amber Alert into New York State. A 10 year old girl named Alexandria was in trouble. She had been abducted by a man who knew her mother from some years before. Peter Tarbox was driving a green Saab. The car was spotted on Route 81 through Syracuse.
As soon as we started pushing this information out on Facebook, Twitter and our CNYCentral mobile app you responded. You could almost hear the whizzing sound of the share counter on CNYCentral.com. The alert zipped from smartphone to tablet to desktop at the speed of WiFi, fiber optic and 4G. The focuse of the sharing ran from Philadelphia to Canada. Everyone was hoping for a positive result. Post after post urged others to spread the word.
That all started before we took the air for our 10:00 newscast. That all got rolling before we could pin an Amber Alert crawl along the bottom of your favorite prime time television shows.
Two hours later the chase was over. Police found Tarbox and the girl. She was safe and sound. He is under arrest. We do not yet know how they found him, but the accelerating number of eyeballs on the lookout for the car and the girl must have created an electronic sense of the world close in on Tarbox.
Thank you for taking your responsibility seriously. The Amber Alert system works best when the whole public buys into its power. Toss in the digital bulletin board search party of today and families have reason to be confident when a child is in danger.
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