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"Selfie" may lead to mugshot for iPhone thief - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

"Selfie" may lead to mugshot for iPhone thief

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Matthew Spinelli says he came back to his Oneonta St. home after a night out Saturday to find the dome light on in one of his cars. At first, he thought he'd accidentally left it on, but he soon realized what had really happened.

"I went back out and sure enough... the glove boxes were all open, and I realized some of the stuff was taken," Spinelli said.

While most of the belongings are easily replaceable, Spinelli did keep an old iPhone 4 in the car for workouts at the gym.

Only ten minutes after calling the cops, Spinelli made a break in his own case. He fired up the Apple iCloud on his computer, an online back-up service, and found a photo of a young man who he doesn't know in his photostream.

It's a kind of photograph commonly known as a "selfie," where the photographer takes a picture of himself or herself. In this selfie, the subject is shown with a stack of money in his teeth. Spinelli says it's likely the photo was uploaded from his stolen phone.

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Spinelli said he's still mad that someone invaded his space and took his possessions, but he couldn't help but laugh a little at the situation.

"It added some humor to it because the photo itself was pretty humorous in the no-so-smart type of way," Spinelli said.

Spinelli says at least four other neighbors contacted SPD Saturday night or Sunday morning.

SPD says they are reviewing the photograph and consider it evidence in the car burglaries case. They are determining if the person in the photograph is the person who took broke into the cars. They also say the photo's subject could be a minor so they will circulate the photo around area schools to see if they find a lead.

Spinelli acknowledges his car doors were left unlocked, and he says he's now learned a lesson the hard way.

SPD has tips for to keep vehicles and possessions safe from crimes of opportunity:

  • Don't hide extra keys in easily accessible places. Criminals will find them.
  • Always park in visible, well-lighted areas.
  • Try to avoid parking next to a larger pickup truck or van. They can be easy to hide behind.
  • Any valuables in your car should be placed in the trunk or otherwise kept out of sight.
If you know who is responsible for the South Highlands car burglaries over the weekend, contact Caddo CrimeStoppers at (318) 673-7373.
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