iPhone thief accidentally IDs himself via Photobucket

A self-portrait of the thief holding the stolen phone is silently uploaded to the Cloud

Photobucket has a cool mobile application that allows users to automatically upload mobile pictures to the company's photo-sharing website. That's something that Korey Heess is unlikely to forget anytime soon, after allegedly snapping a picture of himself that was used by police to identify him as a smartphone thief.

Police in Salinas, California, had been investigating a rash of purse snatchings at local stores when one of their victims uncovered some new evidence a few days ago. Not long after her phone was stolen, a picture of a young man with a goatee and earrings popped up in her Photobucket picture-sharing account.

The man was staring intently at the camera - her camera - as he snapped a self-portrait on a wall-sized mirror.

She recognised him instantly, according to Commander Terry Gerhardstein of the Salinas Police Department. "She looks at Photobucket and she says, 'I've never taken this picture,'" he said. "This is the guy who stole my phone."

With photo in hand, police linked the man to two other thefts. And when they broadcast the picture on a local TV station, the tips started pouring in, Gerhardstein said. "We had callers calling in within the hour."

The tipsters told police the thief was Korey Heess, 26, of Salinas. He was arrested on felony robbery and theft charges early Sunday morning.

Photobucket acquired the mobile-phone Auto Uploader feature that helped ID Heess as part of its December 2009 merger with Ontela, according to Lisa Dilg, a Photobucket spokeswoman. But this is the first time it's been used to solve a crime. "We have never seen anything like it," she said of the case. "We thought it was pretty funny."

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Criminalmobile applicationsappssecuritylegalPhotobucketmobile

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?