Evidence

Selfie sent to burglary victim's cloud account put couple at forefront of investigation


At the end of July, someone broke into a California woman’s home in the Santa Clarita area and stole jewelry, cash and electronic devices.

Then the investigation got on a fast track when, after the burglary, the victim discovered selfies of an unknown couple on her cloud account, days later. The photos were taken by one of the stolen devices, then automatically sent to the linked account, according to the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times’ L.A. Now blog.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department released one of the photos and described the unidentified couple as persons of interest in the burglary investigation.

“Did they buy stolen property? I don’t know. Or are they the residential burglary suspects?” said sheriff’s deputy Joshua Dubin. “There needs to be an explanation as to why their selfies are showing up on this person’s cloud account.”

Upset parents of the young man in the photo say they and their son tried to provide information to police about the apparently stolen cellphone used to take the selfies, but were told to return the next day because the detective in charge of the case had gone home, NBC Los Angeles reports.

The man’s aunt also went to police, explaining that she had purchased two cellphones at a swap meet for $80 and given one to him.

“We are here trying to do the right thing,” said his father. “I’m just upset that everybody is calling me saying ‘Your son is on the news, your son did this.’ Here I am at the station and they’re telling me they don’t know anything about it.”

Amidst an epidemic of thefts of electronic devices nationwide, a number of victims and police have tracked down missing equipment with the help of security camera footage, Internet appeals for information, and applications like Find My iPhone that pinpoint the location of a device. However, selfies sent to the victim’s account are more unusual, and Dubin said this is the first time the sheriff’s department has dealt with such evidence.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Man charged in cellphone robbery after police say he accidentally emailed his photo to victim”

ABAJournal.com: “Viral video of laptop being stolen from coffee shop leads to arrest of suspect”

ABAJournal.com: “Customer support call leads to arrest in laptop theft”

ABAJournal.com: “1st law in US requiring cellphones to have ‘kill switch’ is enacted in Minnesota”

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