TAMARAC (CBS4) – BSO says it busted three Broward burglars just minutes after a victim received e-mail video alerts on his cell phone showing the crime in progress.
It is one of the latest crime-fighting tools that more and more people are taking advantage of here in South Florida and nationwide.
In this case, the victim is a computer software engineer who had rigged his Tamarac townhouse with an elaborate system of surveillance cameras and a software program that send his cell phone e-mail alerts and photos when someone is inside his home.
“This time, we outsmarted them, we outsmarted the bad guys,” said Richard, who did not want to reveal his last name.
“This was something I’ve been thinking of for some time,” said Richard, in an exclusive interview with CBS4′s Peter D’Oench. “I just did my due diligence.”
It was just after midday Tuesday when the pictures popped up on his cell phone. BSO says they showed two of the suspects inside Richard’s home, after smashing through a rear sliding glass door. They were captured on camera stealing a laptop computer, jewelry and an iPad and other items worth thousands of dollars.
“When I saw the glass on the ground in the picture, that was my ‘Oh My God’ moment. Finally when I saw the first foot coming through, I knew I had to do something,” said Richard.
He called 911 and within three minutes, BSO says deputies were at his home.
“The first feeling I got was shock like I knew this could happen,” said Richard. “I didn’t think it could happen but it did happen and I’m glad I did my part to get these guys. Materials can be replaced but this was a violation. Many times people don’t do anything about these situations but this time we outsmarted them.”
“If more people took it upon themselves to do their due diligence and not ask why things happen, then I think this would be a better place to live in,” said Richard.
BSO says 18-year-old Patrick Smith of Lauderdale Lakes and 19-year-old Tevin Laing of Lauderhill were captured on camera inside the townhouse and were arrested a block away from Richard’s home.
BSO says a third suspect, 19-year-old Fabian Campbell of Sunrise, was the lookout and was arrested in his car some two blocks away from Richard’s home. He was also charged with burglarizing a home earlier in the day in Tamarac.
All are charged with Burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and grand theft.
“Because he alerted us right away, we were able to take 3 suspects into custody right away, and safely, and no one got hurt and the property was returned,” said BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright. “The pictures are amazing when you look at them.”
Coleman-Wright said SWAT team members were also called out and were seen inside the townhouse because BSO had received information that a 3rd suspect was there with a gun. That turned out not to be true.
Richard said it cost him less than $500 to set up his system.
Meanwhile, Coleman-Wright said many Tamarac area residents were alerted about this crime and the burglars because they had signed up through BSO online for “Cyber Visors,” which alert residents to crimes in their community.
“Cyber Visors enable people throughout the community to find out about crimes like this and how we make arrests like this,” said Coleman-Wright.