Police: Burglary Suspects Targeted Fontana Home After Social Media Posts
FONTANA (CBSLA.com) — Police are warning residents about revealing their vacation plans online after three men were arrested for allegedly burglarizing a Fontana residence.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports the trio were arrested in the middle of the night after learning the homeowners were out of town via social media.
At 3:30 a.m. on March 25, investigators with the Fontana Police Department were conducting surveillance in the Southridge subdivision following a string of recent thefts in the area, according to police spokesperson Martha Guzman-Hurtado.
During surveillance, officers observed three black males burglarizing a residence in the 16600 block of Windcrest Drive, she said.
“They had flat screens, electronic equipment, furniture, all in the U-Haul and they were getting ready to take off with it,” Guzman-Hurtado said..
One suspect attempted to flee in a U-Haul truck, but was quickly apprehended by police. Two other suspects were also arrested and all of the stolen property was recovered and returned to the victims, police said.
During the investigation, police say officers learned that the suspects had received information online that the homeowners would be out of town. The suspects allegedly devised a plan, which included renting a U-Haul truck to burglarize the residence, according to Guzman-Hurtado.
“One of the individuals who lived in the residence was friends with one of the suspects on social media,” Guzman-Hurtado said. “Once you put it out there, it’s public. Even if you think it’s just gonna stay within your network of friends, you don’t know who their network of acquaintances are.”
Michael Batson, 21, of Barstow, Phillip McKnight, 32, of Barstow, and 20-year-old Tyrone Gibson from Los Angeles were all arrested on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property and conspiracy. They were booked at the West Valley Detention Center.
Online statistics show as many as 78 percent of burglars have admitted to using social media to target their victims, according to Carrero.