Selfies Help Connect Police With Stolen Phones After Burglary

Selfies are everywhere these days — they even comprise a popular song, #Selfie, by the group The Chainsmokers. This week, selfies even made their way into a burglary in Santa Clarita Valley, California.

On July 30, an unnamed woman in Santa Clarita reported that her home was broken into. The burglars cut the mesh screen out of her kitchen window in order to enter the home, and proceeded to steal jewelry, cash, and electronics. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had no leads until an interesting thing happened: using one of the stolen electronic items, several images began appearing in the woman’s cloud.

The police immediately circulated the photos and were asking the public for help in identifying the man and woman in the images. Both of the individuals are lying in bed –clothed — and taking selfies with the camera. The victim has said that she does not recognize the couple.

“Right now, we’re not calling them suspects; we’re calling them persons of interest,” said Deputy Josh Dubin. “But we want to know and detectives want to speak to them about why these two people ended up on this victim’s stolen property in the cloud.” Many phones and computers now automatically sync photos with cloud accounts so that the data is not lost, but instead stored remotely so that it can be accessed from anywhere.

Within a few days, Larry Beltran Jr. identified himself as one of the individuals in the photo. Beltran explained that his aunt, Angie Cabrera, had bought two different iPhones in a recent swap meet for $80. Beltran wanted to clear his name — as a result of the photo, he received a lot of negative attention.

“We’re grateful for the cooperation of that male talking to the detectives right now,” said Dubin. Beltran’s name has been cleared. The police are hoping that this link to the swap will serve as a lead to finding the real burglars. While selfies may help to catch unsuspecting burglars, homeowners are urged to take basic precautions to protect their property. It’s worth noting that 50% residential burglaries can be linked to unsecured garage doors.


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