Two weeks later, the video went viral, reaching an estimated 130,000 through the Take Back Antioch page alone. It also spurred a generous act and might have played a role in the arrest of the car burglary suspects.
“This shows the caring nature of our community: that people do care,” Gougeon said. “I feel my purpose was fulfilled.”
The video, first posted on the TBA site Aug. 14, was of surveillance footage of two men brazenly breaking the back window of a 1995 Camaro that belonged to Antioch resident Lori McDermott.
Almost immediately after Gougeon put a link to the video on the page, tips about the identity of the suspects and requests from residents eager to donate money to the victim poured in.
“I knew there had to be someone out there who could help,” Gougeon said. “Unfortunately, it’s (the car burglary) just one of hundreds that are going on in our community.”
A&A Self Serve Auto Dismantlers in Brentwood contacted Gougeon, volunteering to replace the window of the car if she could put them in contact with its owner. Two minutes after she posted a plea on the Facebook page for someone to put her in contact with the car’s owner, she had the information she needed.
Today, McDermott’s window is like new.
“There’s too much crime going on around here, and not enough people doing good things for others,” said Steve Perry of A&A Self Serve Auto Dismantlers. “We happened to see the video, had the window and decided to do it.”
“It is great to know there are wonderful people that care about their community,” McDermott posted on the Take Back Antioch Facebook page. “Thank you again. Your kindness will not be forgotten.”
Gougeon told everyone who sent her tips about the identity of the suspects in the video to forward the information to the Antioch Police Department. Since then, the APD has arrested two suspects in connection with the crime, and say it is the first time arrests can be directly tied to its new TipSoft program, which allows people to anonymously text the police.
Although the additional traffic to the site has forced Gougeon to moderate the site more carefully, it’s a job she doesn’t mind. “I didn’t anticipate the level of reach,” she said. “Usually, when one of our videos goes viral, it generates only about 100 new likes.”
Take Back Antioch, which started in 2010, is a nonprofit group of a group of concerned citizens actively looking for positive, sustainable solutions to the crime and blight that have developed in Antioch.
While Gougeon doesn’t usually post negative things about the city, such as the burglary video, she feels it’s important for residents to become educated about what’s happening in the community.
“You have to know what’s going on,” she said, “before you have a solution.”