RESEDA (CBSLA.com) — Authorities were crediting a series of selfies with helping them nab a man suspected of stealing a Kindle device.
Police said 26-year-old Michael Soto of Arleta, who took the pictures with his mother, turned himself into police Thursday night. Authorities said she was not suspected in the theft, however.
“They messed with the wrong guy,” said Robin McDonald, who recently left the device inside his parked car outside of a Jack-in-the-Box in Reseda.
When he returned, he realized he accidentally left the car unlocked and the $400 Kindle was gone.
But McDonald’s sorrow turned to surprise when a few days later he says selfies popped up on his television screen after being uploaded from his Kindle to the Cloud online data storage network.
“They looked like they’re having a great time and I just thought that was funny,” McDonald said.
In the photograph, the woman is seen with ash on her forehead, indicating that the selfie was likely taken on Ash Wednesday.
LAPD detectives say tracking technology has helped them solve more than a dozen cases similar to this in the past year.
“It’s a gift. You’re giving us your identity basically when you take pictures of yourself with stolen property,” said LAPD Det. Mark Pearce.
McDonald is a special-effects technician who has worked on several major movies and says the Kindle contains some of his most cherished artwork.
Not long after the selfies went viral, the suspected thief turned himself in and allegedly admitted to taking the photos with his mother, police said.
McDonald said he’s relieved.
“Thank you so much for making it happen. I’m very, very happy to get this back,” he said.
Police said Soto may face misdemeanor charges.
Again, authorities stress, his mother is not suspected in the theft.