Homeowners catch burglar via email

Bradford Co. couple burglarized twice, takes steps to catch culprit the 3rd time

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter

BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. - A local couple says someone broke into their home twice in a matter of months.  But the third time, they were waiting with cameras, one that emailed them pictures as it was happening.

Peter showed Channel 4 the emails he received while at work in Jacksonville.  They contained images of a man walking inside his house in Bradford County.  He explained what it was like when he first saw the emails.

"It was scary," said Peter. "I didn't know what to do at first so I immediately called the Sheriff's Office and told them someone was in my home."

That someone was in his bedroom, looking through his dresser and then riffling through a cabinet.  All the while, the burglar had no clue two cameras were recording his every move.

Peter had placed one camera, called a Foscam, on his table, where it blended in.

"It pans 360 degrees. It motions up and down.  It's got infrared night vision," explained Peter.

The Foscam also has a motion sensor that triggers it to record and email what's capturing on video.

Peter also set up a deer camera which caught the burglar walking through the house and going through the cabinets.  It doesn't offer email capabilities but the deer camera did give crystal clear pictures.

"It's as clear as day, you see this guys, what he's wearing," explained Peter.

Sgt. Mike McKenzie, with the Bradford County Sheriff's Office, says he suggested to Peter the second time his home was burglarized, to buy a deer camera.

"If we can put a suspect with a photograph, it's a nail in the coffin with the case," said McKenzie.

It paid off.  McKenzie says they arrested Charles Futch, who lived nearby, just a few feet away from Peter's home.  The only problem was Futch was empty handed.  Peter's wife Laura thought she would never see her jewelry again.

So where did it all go?  Deputies say Futch told them he buried the jewelry somewhere between Peter and Laura's home and his own.  Well, a huge open field separates where they live.  Deputies say they looked but couldn't find anything. So Peter and Laura took matters into their own hands once again, and rented a metal detector.

It took two and half hours but the metal detector finally started beeping.

"I was like 'oh my God it's all right there,' just thrown in the hole," explained Laura.  "And you know our yard is like the Florida sand, so it was like digging in sand.  So we found everything except one earring."

When we asked Peter how it made him feel to know police are crediting him for catching this guy, he said, "Good, we got somebody that's a thief off the street."

Deputies say they believe Futch is responsible for all three of the break-ins at Peter and Laura's home.  They say they are also investigating if he's linked to other burglaries in the neighborhood.

By the way, Peter says he paid $120 for the Foscam, which sends emails.  He found it online.  As for the deer camera, he also found it online for about $100.

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