Review Category : Busted

Everyday Heroes: Catching an Arson Criminal

everydayheroesMike Spinney (Twitter @spinzo) from SixWeight.com sent us in a fantastic story about how he once helped catch a criminal accused of arson. Do you have stories where you played the hero and helped catch a crook? We’d love to hear them and publish them on the BrickHouse Security blog, so send them in!

Years ago I used to work for a security company in Portland, Maine (third shift mostly in the central station).  Our location included a back parking lot monitored by a beam-type motion detector and two cameras, including one with a remote tilt/pan control.  Working the third shift we’d see all kinds of shenanigans, mostly harmless, owing to the hidden nature of our lot.

One night the motion detector went off and we panned over to see a pedestrian.  Not unusual, and given that it was a quiet night, we panned along with him to see make sure he had no intention of making mischief.  He wandered into the next lot and stopped to pick something up, then seemed to loiter near a car.  Before long we could see something bright in the car and we could tell it was on fire.

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Thief Confuses School Maintenance Facility for Home Depot

caughtoncamera1A thief who has stolen close to $50,000 worth of maintenance tools from the Osceola County Schools’ maintenance facility has finally been caught on camera. The man had broken in several times over the past few months but he managed to avoid surveillance cameras on site. This has lead people to question whether or not it was an inside job.

“He does look like he’s familiar with the surroundings,” Lizasuain of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Modern Day Riddler Caught on Tape Stealing Puzzles

puzzle-thiefIn Brookline, Massachusetts, a woman was caught on tape stuffing $200 worth of puzzles into her bag at Eureka Puzzles. She later returned to the store and was immediately spotted when a store employee recognized her from the tape. However, when confronted, Mary Lane, 52, claim that she had never been in the store until that time and is denying the charges.

On the other hand, the video clearly showed a woman who strongly resembled Lane walking into the store shoving puzzles into her bag and then looking at the camera, bowing her head, removing her sunglasses and moving off the screen. Despite having the same bag as the culprit in the video, Miss Lane insists that it was not her. But unfortunately for her, when police searched her bag they found one of the stolen puzzles. Employees also recognized Lane as a customer who had previously ordered games for the store to put on display. Those games were stolen just a few days later.

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Surveillance Video Leads to Bust in Lohan, Patridge Robbery

0224_audrina_videoWhen Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge’s homes were robbed, both police and the actresses themselves turned to high tech video surveillance for clues. Posting the surveillance videos onto YouTube and their personal blogs, cops hoped to bring in a suspect.

Thanks YouTube, it worked! According to the LAPD, eighteen-year-old Nicholas Prugo was arrested for the alleged burglary of BOTH Lindsay Lohan and “Hills” star Audrina Patridge. The case is currently being investigated by the LAPD, where the suspect is being held on $20,000 bail.




[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-ZMLOomTFg&w=480&h=385]

(Via Access Hollywood)

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Jealous Ex Girlfriend Prosecuted for Hacking into Boyfriend's E-mail Accounts

hackers_cartoonsThere are dozens of websites online dedicated to making life difficult for your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. But for Elaine Cioni that wasn’t enough. When Cioni found out that her already married husband had other girlfriends she went to Yourhackerz.com to help get a better look into his personal life.

For only $100 Yourhackerz.com provided Cioni with the password to her boyfriends AOL account, and then she continued to pay for his wife’s password as well as the password for at least one other girlfriend and even his two children. All of the victims had no idea what was happening. Cioni went even further, making harassing phone calls to her boyfriend and his wife using a “spoofer” service to disguise her voice. Cioni was prosecuted and is now serving a 15 month sentence.

But even though a suspicious girlfriend like Cioni is now behind bars, websites like Yourhackerz.com are still up and running and they present great risks towards computer safety. What is worse is that government officials say that there is not much that they can do about it. With e-mail quickly becoming the easiest way to communicate with people around the world it is scary to know that anyone can pay $100 bucks and hack into your account.  So what can you do to protect yourself? Always make sure your Internet Security software is updated, be wary of downloading attachments from strangers, and restrain yourself from clicking on suspicious links.

(Via The Washington Post)

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Masked Thief Caught on Camera Terrorizing Convenience Store Employees

robberyRecently in Albany, Georgia, a convenience store was robbed and the entire robbery was caught on tape. The Climax convenience store was robbed at gun point just an hour before its closing time. The thief made off with $300 from the cashier register but left the two employees working there at the time unharmed.

Despite the fact that the entire robbery was caught on tape, the police still have not been able to find the burglar and are asking for any one with information to come forward. The police arrested two men that matched the suspects description, and while both had warrants neither was the person they were looking for. Needless to say some of the workers are still very worried about coming back to work.

“Just to view what happened on the camera made me cry because these are my employees,” said Nicoa West, an employee of Climax who was not on duty during the time of the robbery.

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Credit Card Bandits Caught Shopping with Victim's Money on Camera

creditcardsPoor Vanessa Ward knew something was wrong when she received a letter in the mail welcoming her to Wells Fargo for a credit line that she had been approved of. But there was a problem with that letter – and that was that she had never applied for that line of credit.

Vanessa isn’t sure how the credit card thieves got a hold of her card exactly, she says that it might have happened from a single pick-pocketing. Regardless, Vanessa was already aware that thieves had gone on a shopping spree using her credit. A surveillance video inside of a Safeway store shows the two suspected thieves on a $400 splurge, with purchases that include four prepaid Visa cards and three gift cards to Chili’s and Starbucks cards. Afterwords they spent another $200 at Nordstrom Rack, and later on they also went shopping at Standard TV and Appliance.

Vanessa has already closed all of her accounts and flagged her credit history. But she cant help but be concerned that other victims will fall prey to these thieves.

“I want them to go to jail. I’m sure I’m not the only ID that they have. So if we could put them in jail that would be awesome.”

If you are worried that your personal information may have been compromised, the FTC recommends immediately closing all accounts and changing all passwords. It’s important to contact your banks and credit card providers to alert them of the security breech. You can also place a temporary alert on your credit cards that will put your account activity on high alert, hopefully catching any wrongdoers before they’ve done too much damage.

(Via KGW)

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GPS Fleet Tracking Catches Tow Truck Thief In Florida

towtrucksSomeone snuck into a Fort Lauderdale towing company’s parking lot in the dead of night. Someone believed they could be reckless, and that they were above the law when they stole two tow trucks. Someone believed that they would never get caught. What these someone’s didn’t understand was that GPS tracking could and would put an end to their hair-brained schemes.

Fort Lauderdale police arrested two men on Saturday for the theft of the tow trucks. Both were equipped with GPS tracking devices, which had been used to track all movement of the tow trucks during the time they were stolen. A number of stolen items, including car rims, were found in the suspects collection of goods. Police did not immediately identify the men.

Jason Parrett, owner of the Fort Lauderdale repossession truck company First Response Towing and Recovery, said the GPS tracking units were crucial in finding the missing wreckers.

“Without it we wouldn’t have found the trucks,” said Parrett, who has all three trucks in his fleet hooked up with GPS technology.

Parrett said that he was alerted by an employee early Saturday that the trucks were missing and reacted to the situation by pulling up their locations on his wife’s BlackBerry, which is linked to their GPS units to give the company maximum oversight.

After GPS maps showed Ford F-450’s in Oakland Park and the Lauderdale Manors section of the city, Parrett’s drivers were able to find one F-450 abandoned in Oakland Park. When the other was located on Northwest 13th Avenue, the driver observed a man taking the wrecker. The truck was followed by the driver and eventually abandoned when the culprit realized he was being followed.

The GPS system’s activity report was so efficient that it basically did all the police’s work for them, showing where the trucks had been, places where they had been parked for extended periods and how fast they had been driven.This information was used to arrest the culprits on the 1700 block of Northwest 13th Avenue, a location listed in the report.

“The detailed activity reports in these are disgustingly accurate,” Parrett said of the system, which cost him $300 to install and $20 a month for airtime for each of his three trucks.

(Via Miami Herald)

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Grave Robber Caught on Camera Stealing from Famed Korean Actress, Choi Jin-sil

korean-grave-robberIn Korea, the ashes of famed actress Choi Jin-sil were stolen from their grave by what police believe to be a crazed fan. Police have released video footage taken by the graveyards security cameras which shows a short-haired, medium height man in his 40s wandered around the grave at 5:43-5:55AM on August 2nd. He was wearing camouflage pants, a short sleeved T-shirt and a gray vest.

The suspect was holding a large wooden stick and was seen in the video wandering around the grave occasionally measuring the grave where the ashes of the actress where held. After about 10 minutes of doing so, he left the scene, and that is when cameras were able to catch still images of his face. Police have already managed to match his face to another video of a man breaking into the grave with a hammer four nights later and stealing the ashes of the late Choi Jin-sil.

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Hidden Camera Reveals Mayor as Underwear Thief

ian-stanfford-pic1

Ian Stafford, Former Mayor of Preesall

Female residents in Preesall, Lancashire were becoming anxious of a ladies underwear thief and were surprised to find that the lead suspect was actually the mayor of the town. Local women had begun to call police after they noticed that multiple articles of clothing began disappearing from their homes. One woman in particular was so nervous about the ongoing perverted thefts, that she installed a hidden camcorder into her home.

The video she recorded was of a half naked man breaking into her house stealing her underwear, putting them on, and then performing lewd sexual acts with them. Upon further investigation police were able to determine that the underwear thief was none other than the local Mayor Ian Stanford.  Stanford had been an independent member of the town council for years and was only recently elected as the mayor for a second term.

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