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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Caught on tape: Burglars target wrong techie

Grateful police say they've "never seen anything like this before"

By Paul McNamara

Maybe the Supreme Court ought to consider this scenario as it grapples with legal issues surrounding private electronic communications filtering into and out of the workplace.

A Framingham, Mass., resident received an urgent text message at work on Friday. It was from his home computer reporting the presence of movement inside of his apartment, which he had equipped with a motion detector and surveillance camera after a recent burglary.

The guy logs on, calls up the video feed, and bingo: Two burglars are having their way with his stuff. He calls the cops, who I'm going to presume have rarely had an easier collar.

From a MetroWest Daily News report:

Kevin John Fegan, 27, and Joshel Garcia, 18, both of Framingham, were inside the 205 Beaver St. apartment when police arrived and arrested them at 9:30 a.m., never knowing they were being watched via computer, Deputy Police Chief Craig Davis said.

The break-in and theft were also recorded for future use in court proceedings, the deputy chief said.

"I've never seen anything like this before," said Davis. "It's awesome."

Police have not released the name of citizen crime-fighter (nor his tape), perhaps partly due to the fact that one of the "suspects" lives nearby.

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Burglars are caught in the act all the time by commercial surveillance equipment -- examples here, here and this one where some knucklehead hit a Las Vegas store catering to mixed martial artist fans. And I presume those home-protection services snag a miscreant or two now and then. But I don't recall reading of a do-it-yourselfer having this kind of success.

Hope his neighbors are properly expressing their gratitude.