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How I caught a burglar on social media

How I caught a burglar on social media

I could be driving into town, playing at the park, or waiting for ballet lessons to finish, and I see the same old story. Social media.

In today’s world, we all glued to our phones. Teenagers, inbetweeners or adults; phones are very rarely out of reach.

My husband can’t have a poo without one of his devices in hand, albeit only to read the news in his spare 20 minutes. Who takes that long?

We are time poor, information hungry, and we have these powerful little computers at our fingertips.

I guess that’s just the way it is these days.

I am also guilty

Since I gave birth to Lady P (2 years and 9 months ago), I’ve taken approximately 365 million photos of our moments together. I share a fair bit on various social media too.

I am a digital marketing consultant, and of course I am a blogger, so I do spend a lot of time checking emails, social media accounts, and looking stuff up on the fly.

I am also newish to our hometown, so I have to look up how to get to new places or running routes quite a lot.

Is it so bad?

Now, I haven’t conducted any research into it personally, but I am almost 100% sure most people are on their phones using social media.

Generally I try to keep mine to a minimum when I am with my little girl. I don’t like to waste the time I have with her by looking at what other people are doing with their lives.

Unless she’s watching Peppa-bloody-Pig that is. Then I need my escape.

Instead, she and I do Snapchats and look at videos of cute dogs on Instagram. #ParentingWin

fun with snapchat

I mean, who doesn’t love what those filters do for haggard parents?

Can social media have positives too though?

All of the possibilities of how dangerous social media can be for teenagers terrify me.

In recent weeks though, I’ve seen a massive positive that it can bring too.

Clearly there are actually a lot of positives, for keeping in touch with friends and family, and as someone who advises on how to use social media for business, it is also a key commercial tool.

But I actually used Facebook to catch someone who broke into my house.


Just call me ‘Poirot’.

To catch a thief on Facebook

We were unfortunately broken into, on a Sunday lunchtime, while we were out in London for the day.

Initially, we didn’t think anything had been taken, but when reviewing our CCTV footage, we saw he had in fact taken something.

My daughter’s piggy bank.

Yes, really.

Luckily for us, our images were kick ass and got facial shots as he ran off.

We obviously handed these to the police and they started to do their jobs. It’s no secret though that I had doubts much would happen. We all know how under-resourced they currently are. The risk was that he would become another piece of paperwork on an over-piled desk.

I took matters into my own hands.

I decided that I didn’t want to get myself into trouble, and wasn’t sure if it was “allowed”, but I wanted to warn my neighbours and friends to be vigilant. There had been a spate of similar crimes in the area and I didn’t want anyone else to have the inconvenience and cost that we’d experienced.

So I shared it on Facebook.

Within a day I’d had over 800 shares, lots of great suggestions of other places to share the images (schools, colleges etc), and actually 2 messages naming the same person.

Then, out of the blue, the mother of the named person got in touch to say she knew it was her son and she wanted to hand him in.

Et voila!

Information handed to the police and within 3 weeks he will be in court having admitted the crime.

Isn’t that a bit dangerous though?

Yes. Probably.

I figured I was just sharing my image of someone on my property, stealing from my daughter. I wanted to do it to protect others.

He already knew where we lived, and ok, he didn’t know my name, but he only had to wait outside my house long enough (should he have wished to), to see what I looked like.

My social profiles are locked down to just friends, and I don’t add randoms. So what did I have to lose?

Community fighting back

The response I had was overwhelming.

My local friends shared the post, but hundreds of other people I’d never met did too.

They were disgusted with this crime (to steal £17.80 from a toddler), but also appalled that it had happened where they live.

Social media is a lot of things, but in our case, it brought together a community. A community that I am proud to be part of.

A community that caught a thief.

Thank you, people of Rugby.

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12 Comments on "How I caught a burglar on social media"

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Mrs Jibril

Lucky you caught him so disappointing that someone can steal from a toddler! seriously how much did he think will be in her piggy bank #blogcrush


Oh my word! What an awful thing to happen and how amazing the way it all turned out. This was a great ‘out-of-the-blue’ read for me! Your title was a total hook 🙂 #blogcrush

The Squirmy Popple

That’s amazing that you were able to catch the thief! Someone broke into our house a few years ago and the police never caught anyone – I wonder if things would have been different if I’d tried chasing him down on social media. #BlogCrush


oh my goodness that is awful that he broke into your house and yet so good that you helped to catch him.

Muffin top mummy

What a vile man – I’m so glad you caught him! I’m totally a secret detective and would love to do that sort of thing (well, I wouldn’t love the being broken into part), so go you! I’m up the road from you in Warwick – I hope my community would be as awesome #dreamteam

Annette, 3 Little Buttons

Oh my goodness. I actually thought you were joking at first. How awful to have been broken into! But also how amazing that the community managed to catch the thief. There are so many positives and negatives around social media, I think all in moderation is a good way to go. #DreamTeam x