Fighting Crime with an iPhone and Twitter (sequel to Lock up your Stuff, Erin!)
Friday, 11 May 2012 23:16

Joe Scully captures car break-ins with his iPhone as featured on Breakfast Television Joe Scully captures car breakins with his iPhone as featured on Breakfast Television

Upon hearing a random car honk in my driveway Wednesday morning, I ventured to investigate, armed with an iPhone.  Surprisingly, I discovered a deviant looting vehicles on my street, and my reaction was to document the "unsub" in action on my iPhone in hopes of surveillance being used for his capture.  I called the police and followed him in my stocking feet, but gave up at a certain point.

With soaking feet and iPhone video, I pondered what I would do next.  Like most people in that situation, I blogged about it.  Who knew that it would take on a life of it's own...

Joe Scully and Kevin Frankish fight crime on Twitter Joe Scully and Kevin Frankish fight crime on Twitter

I was more incredulous as I began to collect my thoughts.  Not only was this an odd experience, what perturbed me most is that our "small town" continues live their "small town ways".  The Erin Car Break-in Dude had hit three vehicles in succession...three cars in three driveways in a row, all unlocked.  Jackpot street?  I don't know.

In efforts of trying to get local media to address both issues (the perp and the over-trusting), I sent the blog posting to the local papers and community radio station.  Soon thereafter, I recieved my "morning tweet" of "Good Morning" from Kevin Frankish of CityTv's Breakfast Television, and thought it may be BT-worthy to send to him.  Incredulously, he tweeted back and asked if he could run the video... how wild!

Sure enough at 6:05am in the news break, the "Break-ins in Erin" story ran, showing a quick tweaked version of my iPhone Video along with photos and descriptions from my it was an official media release.  The story repeated that morning a couple of times, and people began commenting my blog about how they had been hit that night and a few times was becoming an epidemic!

Scully's iPhone Video on Breakfast Television:
Dim lights
Original BT Video #1: at about 6:05 am
Original BT Video #2: at about 7:04 am

Soon, the phone rang... it was the police.  The officer calling had seen the video on Breakfast Television and wanted to get his hands on it to try and start an investigation.

Now, I understand that we're in Erin, a village covered by the Ontario Provincial Police that have a massive area to cover, and my call the night before wouldn't have been a priority... "Hi, I found this guy breaking into cars and looting them.  I'm following him now.  Ok, he's gone around a corner.  He's gone down this street.  Last seen here... oh, and I have video of him doing it"... wasn't going to be an all-hands on deal, especially when the dispatcher said, "... ok.  I'll tell the officer, and if he wants it, he'll call you."  10-minutes passed, no call, no cruiser, and no perp.  And in I went.

But... Video of the Crime, on Breakfast Television, with a qualified Blog and Pics behind it... well Grisham will take the case.

If you have any info, or you or someone you know were broken into, you're best to report it, even if nothing was taken.  The number for OPP is: 1-888-310-1122.  And as always, if you bear witness to a crime in progress, immediately dial 9-1-1.

So, iPhone to Twitter to Breakfast Television to... hopefully an arrest.  In the interim, car dude's rampage continues.  More break-ins happened Friday Morning.  But he will be caught... we will continue to fight crime one tweet at a time.

This is a sequel to the original blog, "Lock up your stuff, Erin!", available exclusively on and as featured on CityTv's Breakfast Television here.

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