Three men have been arrested in Nashua, New Hampshire for burglarizing at least 18 homes this summer, and they could possibly be linked to even more pending further investigation.
The three men — Mario Rojas, Leonardo Barroso and Victor Rodriguez — were either brilliant, or insanely stupid depending on how you look at it.
According to WMUR, the three men, along with possibly more accomplices, used Facebook status messages to discern who was away from their homes for an extended period of time. This was part of the problem the police had with cracking the 50 home spree due to the fact that there seemed to be no connecting thread through out the homes chosen. At some point they finally figured out that in every case the home owners had changed their Facebook status to indicate they were either away on vacation or a business trip.
Where the “stupid” portion comes from is that apparently at one of the houses the men stole some sort of specialized fireworks. All police officers were informed to keep an ear out for fireworks being shot in the city, and it was an off-duty policeman who heard them going off. When he went to investigate he found the packaging they were looking for and this led to the arrest of the first man. From there the other two were discovered and thus far between $100,000 to $200,000 in stolen goods have been recovered.
Is this the point where we get to tell you “told you so“? Way back in Feb. we told you about a now closed site called Please Rob Me that basically tried to tell the social networking world that you were giving out too much information, but most people laughed it off. “Be careful of what you post on these social networking sites,” Capt. Ron Dickerson told WMUR. “We know for a fact that some of these players, some of these criminals, were looking on these sites and identifying their targets through these social networking sites.”
While it seems like such an innocent thing to do, we now have undeniable proof that criminals could indeed use this information against you. Just as when you leave home and they suggest you turn on lights, and have someone bring in your mail so as not to communicate to people you are gone, you shouldn’t be announcing to the world you are out of your house either via Facebook or Twitter.
What say you? Have you cut back on how much information you share on social networks? Do you think this story will change your habits?