They Brought a UHAUL.

Imagine walking through a suburban neighborhood and seeing a group of men loading furniture and TV’s into a rented truck. They’re gingerly taking their time and packing all sorts of things into the back of the truck. You probably wouldn’t think twice. People move all the time, after all. What if you were walking right past a brazen burglary unfolding within full view of the neighborhood?

But wait, it gets weirder

What if the police just happened to be nearby? That’s exactly what happened in Fontana, California. The next part of the story is something out of a movie, but let’s backtrack. This family was preparing to go on vacation, and one of them updated their Facebook announcing the vacation plans to the world. It’s something we do every day. Some people can’t even eat a sandwich without putting it through a retro filter on Instagram. Unfortunately, “oversharing” on social media can lead to becoming a victim of burglary.

A “friend”, seeing that this family would be gone, took the liberty to recruit a group of burglars and literally showed up with a UHAUL while their victims were away. It was then that they began unloading a multitude of property from the house. Television, jewelry, electronics, furniture and more.

And now the fun part

It turns out, a unit of undercover cops were staking out the community due to a high number of thefts in the area. Imagine their surprise when they noticed a group of men unloading the contents of an entire home into a giant rented truck. They walked over for a chat and, well, the rest is history.

What can we learn from this?

None of us want to come home to a wrecked house and thousands of dollars in stolen property. If there’s anything we can take away from this story, it’s that our habits need to change. Going on vacation? A business trip, maybe? Keep these things in mind.

1. Don’t get too comfortable on social media.

We love to share! Nothing wrong with that, but be aware of the information you’re disclosing. It’s not a good idea to let the world know you’re going on vacation in two days and will be gone for a week. Instead, wait until you return to post photos and tell everyone about your trip. Also, check your privacy settings. How much do you really know about who can and can’t see your social media posts? Check, and check again. Information from reports that up to 78 percent of burglars admit to using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Google Street View to find victims.

2. Develop a rapport with neighbors.

If your neighbors know you well, they probably would be suspicious of someone hanging around your property when you’re on vacation. Give them your phone number! Tell them if you’ll be away for a while. Offer to do the same thing for them, and you’ve just made your corner of the neighborhood that much safer.

3. Have a security system.

It may sound obvious, but the statistics don’t lie. According to a study which interviewed over 400 burglars about their habits, 60 percent said they would avoid a home altogether if it had a security system. Many modern systems are wireless and interactive. They allow you to monitor and control your home from anywhere with a security smartphone app.


Cover photo courtesy of Rachel Elaine. / Flickr CC