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Mystery no more: Bridgeville police find owner of false teeth missing for six months

| Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, 4:21 p.m.

Officers with the Bridge­ville Police Department sunk their teeth into solving one of the borough's biggest mysteries of 2016.

In a classic Cinderella story, the missing object turned out to be the proper fit.

On Feb. 14, a Bridgeville man was reunited with his missing set of dentures.

“We've had some weird stuff over the years, but this is certainly unique,” police Chief Chad King said. “We've had our fair share of laughs about this and now we can finally sit and think about it.”

The teeth and their owner had been separated for six months. In August, the police department announced via Facebook that a pair of dentures had been found.

“By putting it out on Facebook, because we have a pretty good following, I figured that somebody in town could have lost a pair of false teeth,” King said. “If they then had internet access and a Facebook account, they could put two and two together. I was hoping it would have been returned a lot sooner.”

What led to the teeth being returned to the missing party was a classic line of police work.

Two weeks ago, Sgt. Bill Young responded to a police call and talked with an elderly man, whose name is not being released to the public. King also would not reveal where the teeth where found.

A week later, Young saw the same man — who does not have a Facebook account, police said — walking through Bridgeville and approached him.

“He started asking him a series of questions, then one thing led to another and he came down to the station and tried on the pair of false teeth,” King said. “Sure enough, it ended up being a fit.

“(Sgt. Young) poked his head in my office all nonchalant and said, ‘I solved the biggest mystery of 2016. I returned the false teeth.' I just got all excited and said, ‘Are you serious?'”

Police say the man paid $2,000 for the dentures.

The use of Facebook and other forms of social media have helped Bridgeville police solve crimes such as robberies and return dogs and missing property.

“It's been very helpful for us,” King said. “I never got on social media until two years ago. The only reason I did was to start a department Facebook page, so I had to start my own page.”

The borough has population of about 5,100, but the Bridgeville Police Department Facebook page has more than 5,300 likes.

“It's a pretty good number for a department our size (11 full- and part-time officers),” King said, “You have to evolve and right now, everybody you see is on social media. Most people can't look up from their cellphones. It's the way to go to keep up with the times.”

Matthew Peaslee is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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