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Police catch criminals online

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Chat rooms are becoming a more common resource for investigators in solving crimes. Chat rooms are becoming a more common resource for investigators in solving crimes.
Investigators now look to sites like MySpace to assist them in investigations. Investigators now look to sites like MySpace to assist them in investigations.
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By Audrey Esther, News9.com INsite Team

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -- Local law enforcement officials are learning a few new tricks of the trade in Midwest City.

The Internet is now changing the way police investigate crimes. Web sites like MySpace and Facebook are now valuable resources for police. Tuesday local officials took an in-depth look at just how much information they can obtain by logging on.

Convicted killer Kevin Underwood confessed his crime to police and he also discussed his crime in an Internet chat room. That online chat helped put Underwood away for life.

"We were able to recover chat logs and introduce them in court," Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Special Computer Crimes Unit Jim Ely said.

The Internet has become a valuable resource for law enforcement but it's also become a valuable resource for criminals.

"It's made the work we do, in some regards, very easy, we can do things more quickly" Moore Police Detective Chris Lamar said. "The flip side is its made life easier for the criminals too, so it has made life easier for them in a lot of ways."

Lamer said the more he knows about the Internet, the easier it is for him to convict criminals.

The National White Collar Crime Center hosted the one-day seminar and teaches law enforcement agencies across the country how to investigate and prevent cybercrime.

"The big challenge for law enforcement now is to basically find that online component of every investigation they do," Charles Cohen with the Indiana State Police Department said.

Knowing what online component to look for in today's growing digital universe is also difficult.

"That's also why these agencies that we all come together and talk about it I might not be aware of something, someone else has already dealt with and vice versa," Ely said.

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