Patrolman Brian Johnson of the Franklin, Mass., Police Department studied a surveillance video showing two men using allegedly stolen credit cards at a Home Depot.

But when Johnson didn’t recognize either man, he decided to involve people – a lot of them – to help crack the case. He posted a clip from a security camera on, Google Inc.’s video-sharing Web site, then e-mailed the clip’s link to about 300 people and organizations saying the department was looking for the men.

“You don’t have to be a technology wizard to figure out how to watch a video on YouTube,” Johnson said of the decision to post on the site that hosts millions of amateur and commercial videos.

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