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Burglarised by Facebook friend!

india Updated: Apr 22, 2010 15:26 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

My fiancé,Kurt Pendleton, and I (Keri Logsdon McMullen from New Albany, USA) installed security cameras in our home on Monday, March 15, 2010. We could not agree on a purchase contract for the house we are currently renting, so the homeowners put it up for sale.That day the house was shown and a wine glass got broken. I asked what happened and was told the people didn't touch anything.

Since the house can be shown when we weren't home, we decided to put up cameras and set up a DVR device so we can log on to the internet and see what is happening when we are not there. On Saturday, March 20, 2010, around 5 pm, I posted a Facebook status that read "Heading to the Hill with Kurt to see the Fire Dept."(The Hill is Phoenix Hill, a bar and Fire Department is the band we were seeing).

My girlfriend picked me up at 6 pm. Kurt came home from work and got ready and left at 8 pm. At 8.42 pm, the cameras caught two men breaking into our back door. They came in, crouched down and then started going through our stuff.

Caught on camera
We saw from the video that the two burglars carried everything out the back door and set it in the front yard. An hour later, they were seen driving past our house. The third time, they stopped and loaded everything into the back. They also emptied a laundry basket downstairs and filled it with stuff from our home theater audio rack. They had unlocked a window in our game room and moved stuff in front of it.

The police think it was so they could come back with the proper tools to get the rest of the stuff that was bolted into our rack.Kurt had dropped me off at another bar at 12.30 am, so I could see some other friends and headed home. At 12.50 am, I received a text message from him saying someone had broken into our home. He had not checked the cameras yet, but had called the police. I immediately took a cab home.

When I walked in, there were three policemen watching the video. They asked me if I recognised either of the men. At the time I said, no.The next morning, I posted pictures of the burglars on my Facebook page asking if anyone recognised them. I immediately started receiving responses. Several people told me they had noticed my Facebook status the night before, saying I was going to be gone.

Another person emailed and told me to check on a guy who was on my friends’ list, because he looked just like one of burglars in the pictures I had posted.My ‘friend’, the robber.It was a ‘friend’ who grew up on the same street as me. I haven't seen him in more than 15 years because I had moved. He had sent my sister and me friend requests about six months ago, but I had never really looked at his pictures.

I sent everything to the police.Turned out, this person had a theft and burglary record dating back to 2000. Currently, he is hiding out but does have a court case coming up for a previous crime and the police have been in contact with his attorney. He and his partner ended up taking my grandmother’s wedding ring, our plasma TV, two laptops, a DVD player, Bluray player, PS3 player, a bunch of movies and some cables.

This man wasn't someone I didn't know. I didn’t think twice about allowing him access to my page. I had my privacy settings set in such a way that no one could see my page unless they were a ‘friend’. I didn’t think twice about posting pictures we had taken at the house with our TV in the background or Kurt on his laptop.

I thought I was smart about being on a social network.I also did not have my address or phone number listed on my profile. However, I did have my employer. The ‘friend’ could have followed me home from work or he could have asked one of the 15 mutual friends we had in common, what street I live on.

Lesson learnt
My fiancé has a work van that is brightly wrapped with his logo and a list of home theatre, security and other jobs he does. Finding out the street. I live on would be easy and then seeing the van in our driveway with our business name would show it’s our house.After this incident I seriously feel that Facebook needs to install a criminal background application. No one can be trusted!