Florida law enforcement agencies use facial recognition to identify alleged thief

An alleged thief is in jail after two Florida law enforcement agencies used a controversial crime-fighting tool.

An alleged thief is in jail after two Florida law enforcement agencies used a controversial crime-fighting tool.

Heather Reynolds was wanted for allegedly stealing nearly $12,000 worth of items from a Clermont store last month.

Investigators said they were able to identify Reynolds through facial recognition technology.

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The Tampa Police Department and Seminole County Sheriff’s Office used images from the store’s surveillance video to identify Reynolds as the thief.

Deputies believe Reynolds and an accomplice stole two grills and a vacuum from a Clermont Ace Hardware store Nov. 20.

Five days later, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office released images from the store’s surveillance camera and asked if anyone recognized the suspects.

Within two days, both Tampa police and Seminole County deputies said they used facial recognition software to tentatively identify the suspect as Reynolds.

Seminole County deputies said they were able to identify Reynolds by matching one of her tattoos from a Facebook photo to one in the surveillance video.

The Sheriff’s Office said it is currently testing a facial recognition program called Clearview AI.

It is not known how long the agency has used the software or how many people have been arrested due to it.