Victim posted thieves’ images on Facebook
Updated: Friday, 06 Aug 2010, 12:42 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 06 Aug 2010, 12:39 PM EDT
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (CNN) – An Indiana woman came home to find her home burglarized and thousands of dollars worth of goods stolen.
Surveillance cameras capture the entire incident, and the victim posted the thieves’ images on Facebook.
That’s when she learned she’d been the victim of a terrible betrayal, and she offers a warning to other Facebook users.
Apparently she let the thief know that she was out of the house by posting it on Facebook! Not good! Let’s talk about those little trips when you return and not before. Especially in a public arena like Facebook!
What the bad guys didn’t know during their burglary was that a security camera inside the home recorded their every move. Even when they get close to the device, the camera’s blinking red light goes unnoticed.
On the night of the break-in, Keri McMullen did what she’d done hundreds of times before: She posted a Facebook status update from her cellphone.
She and fiancé Kurt Pendleton were going out for the night to see a band.
“Heading to the hill with Kurt to see Fire Department,” she wrote at 5:46 p.m.
Within hours, Keri’s sense of security would be shattered.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you and when it does you know anything can happen to you,” said Keri.
It happened at about 8:45 p.m. on March 20, about 45 minutes after Kurt locked the doors that night.
The guys busted in, locked the doors and left the house.
In a stroke of luck, Keri and Kurt had just installed security cameras in their home six days before the break-in. They had two cameras set up, one outside and one right in the living room.
When they returned home that night, what they saw on their security camera tape stunned them. They watched as the burglars tore their 50-inch plasma TV right off the wall.
“You see him just manhandle it and rip it off the wall, with all the drywall falling down,” said Kurt.
The couple watched the surveillance video that same night and said it was violating to see the images.
Keri and Kurt reported the break-in but did their own police work, too. They posted snapshots of the suspects from the video on Keri’s Facebook page, and within hours, another Facebook friend recognized one of the suspects.
“Someone contacted Keri and said, ‘I know who that is, and so do you. He’s one of your friends,'” said Kurt.
That’s right. One of the men on the tape, Keri said, was her Facebook friend Shaun South.
Police have charged him and the other suspect with a felony. Both are still on the run.
Keri said she and South were childhood friends. She’s known him since she was 7 years old but hadn’t seen him in 15- to 20 years.
“Once I went into his page and saw all his pictures and started looking, then, I mean, he has the same posture. It’s definitely him,” said Keri.
Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills said South faces criminal charges in at least 25 other cases in his county, including burglary, battery and stolen property.
He said people need to be more cautious.
“You don’t know who all is looking at your private info there because it’s really not private if you’re on Facebook,” said Mills. “You’re posting it for everyone.”
One Internet security expert said updating your status on any social networking site before going on vacation or just out for the night is as good as leaving a key behind for the burglars.
In Keri and Kurt’s case, all the suspects had to do was call the bar she said she was going to and find out what time the band was coming on. So, they would know what time it was safe to break in.
“I was kind of sad that someone I trusted enough to put on my page would take advantage of me like that,” said Keri.
Before it was over, the burglars had stolen about $11,000 worth of goods.
Keri would’ve “de-friended” South but said that after the burglary, he deleted his Facebook profile.