Great story out of the Washington Post yesterday on a husband/wife crimefighting team. It was the middle of the night on September 24 when Kari and Derek Fisher were sound asleep in their Adelphi, Maryland home. A slick thief ducked into their quiet home by slitting a hole in the screen and squeezing his way inside. The suspect crept around while the family, who never heard a peep, slept
When the Fisher’s awoke in the morning, the wife noticed that a video camera, radio, digital cameras and Derek’s wallet and cell phone were missing. Barely out the front door, and unbeknownst to the homeowners, the suspect started making phone calls through their Sprint carrier.
While scurrying to cut off credit cards and track missing electronics, the Fisher’s had a choice to cut off the cell phone. Instead of shutting it down, they decided to take action. The Sprint representative offered a free 15-day trial of Sprint Family Locator service. This is a service mainly targeted for parents to keep track of children, but many couples use it to track cheating spouses (awesome idea).
The Fisher’s could track the suspect, and then according to the article, they connected with the detective to provide him with screen grabs of the information they were finding on their computer. Eventually investigators were able to obtain a search warrant and take the suspect down at a nearby apartment building. Jose Eguizabal-Najera, 27, was nabbed on October 5. He’s charged with first degree burglary and may be connected to another area break in.
Although this is a story of great success in tracking down a suspect, and I commend the family on their efforts, it can be risky to leave phones and credit cards open. According to the report in the Washington Post, the Fisher’s are responsible for the 1,000 calls made over the 11 day period they were without their phone. At first Sprint was going to make them pay, but the Washington Post says once a reporter called, they credited the charges.
I can tell you that these types of crimes are not at the top of the list for investigators. This isn’t because they aren’t important, but because they only have limited resources to track down details. The majority of their case load, especially in large cities, is tracking felony criminals and those wanted for murders and rapes. Sometimes it takes unique technology and swift action by victims to help aide police in the right direction for justice.