A woman in Salinas, California was looking through the pictures in her Photobucket account recently when a photo appeared of a man that somehow looked familiar. Then it dawned on her. It was the face of the alleged thief that had snatched her phone only a few days earlier.
The accused man, Korey Heess, hadn’t realized that the Photobucket app on the woman’s phone was set to automatically upload photos to her online account.
According to an IDG report, the photo was taken by Heess himself, in front of a wall-sized mirror, looking right into the lens.
Commenting on the incident, Commander Terry Gerhardstein of the Salinas Police Department said, “She looks at Photobucket and she says, ‘I’ve never taken this picture.’ This is the guy who stole my phone.”
The woman contacted the police and handed them the photo of the suspect. After a local news show broadcast the picture, callers phoned in to identify the man. On Sunday cops arrested 26-year-old Heess on felony robbery and theft charges.
A spokeswoman for Photobucket, Lisa Dilg, said “We have never seen anything like it. We thought it was pretty funny.”
Photobucket’s Auto Uploader feature was acquired when the company merged with Ontela in December 2009. Dilg said she believed it was the first time it had been used to solve a crime. Perhaps it won’t be the last.