CNet News is reporting on how an Indiana man named Fred Thompson used a homemade, automated security system connected to his personal computer to catch thieves who broke into his house.
Thompson’s interest in automated, do-it-yourself home security started after his home in Fort Wayne, Indiana was burglarized. He responded to the first burglary by setting up a video camera connected to his computer and configured it to remotely notify him when motion was detected in his house while he was away.
On October 10, 2006, Thompson’s security system notified him that movement had been detected in his home. He then called police, and headed home in his car.
Thompson and Police Officer Stephanie Souther discovered that his front door had been unlocked and a window at the back of the house was open. The recorded video showed that a man entered the back of the house, unlocked the front door to let someone else in and the two thieves then searched the house.
A large piece of copper pipe was found to be missing from the house.
After the police failed to generate any suspects, Thompson posted his video on YouTube a week later with the title “Burglars Caught in Fort Wayne.”
Detective Everett D. White of the Fort Wayne Police happened to notice it.
White showed the YouTube video to his colleagues at work the next day, and one recognized the men.
On November 16, 2006, Richard Klaff was charged with felony burglary and felony theft.
A jury convicted Klaff the following June, and a judge sentenced him to six years jail time plus a one year probation.
Klaff appealed the conviction, claiming the evidence against him is insufficient. However, the Indiana appeals court ruled on March 31 that the video “establishes that not only was Klaff present at the house, but also that he was an active participant, and thus the evidence may raise a reasonable inference of guilt.”