Social media tips lead police to suspect

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Social media helps track down a man wanted on rape charges in Struthers.

The Struthers Police Department posted a “wanted” poster online for Paul Taylor, 34, of Struthers, on Sunday. On Monday, detectives found Taylor in Portage County after tips about his whereabouts were posted on Facebook.

“Facebook is a valuable tool, and most other police departments in the area actually have already gotten in on it as well,” said Struthers Police Det. Jeffrey Lewis.

Taylor was wanted on five counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition for allegedly engaging in sexual conduct with a 12-year-old girl. The victim is now 13.

Neighbors said Taylor moved out of the home he was renting on Sexton Street in Struthers nearly one month ago. Police believe Taylor knew he was wanted and that is when he moved in with a relative in Windham Township.

With the assistance of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis said Taylor was found and arrested Monday morning at a home on Bryant Road.

“And then we went to the house where he was, and ultimately we found him hiding under a bed in a back bedroom,” Lewis said.

A grand jury indictment handed down Thursday states Taylor also had sexual contact with two other family members.

Police said the arrest shows the power of a Facebook post.

“When I checked online, it said over 213,000 people had actually seen that post,” said Det. Lewis. “Social media, some people read that more than they actually watch the news, or read the newspaper on occasion.”

Taylor is being held in the Mahoning County Jail awaiting arraignment. He could face life in prison if convicted.

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