Thieves may have gotten away with robbing an Oklahoma home last weekend if it hadn't been for an eyewitness who saw the whole thing from more than 8,000 miles away in a bizarre case police said "CSI" couldn't have scripted better.
Maribel Chouinard was at her computer in the Philippines when she spotted three burglars on the Web cam that she leaves on 24 hours a day to keep in touch with her husband back home in Oklahoma City, Okla., police said.
Chouinard's husband, Air Force Master Sgt. Jim Choinard, was not at home at the time. But the Web cam was apparently on when the would-be robbers "jerry rigged the window and came through," Jim Choinard told ABC's Oklahoma affiliate KOCO. Maribel Choinard was asleep near the computer, when a loud noise from the computer woke her up, Jim said.
She watched the thieves enter the home before the screen went dead, when apparently they nabbed the Web camera as part of the loot.
Maribel immediately called Jim who then relayed the report to the police, including a description of the thieves.
When Jim told emergency dispatchers that his wife was reporting the crime, dispatchers asked if she was in the home.
"No, she's watching it over the Web cam from a different country," Jim responded according to Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes.
Before Jim got home 10 minutes later, police had apprehended two teenage suspects, one of whom was "shocked" to see police, Clabes said. Police caught up to another suspect who fled the scene to a nearby neighborhood.
'CSI' Coudn't have Scripted It Better
Maribel's crucial role in solving the crime wasn't over. Police organized a virtual line-up in which they e-mailed mugshots of the teenage suspects to Maribel who positively identified them as the ones who broke into the home.
"It's really wild," Clabes told ABC News. "Obviously she's 8,000 miles away. It's pretty amazing she solves a crime in progress in Oklahoma... There was no doubt we would not have solved this crime most likely without her."
"I don't think a Hollywood writer for one of the popular CSI shows could have script it better than this," Clabes said.
Police told ABC News the three suspects, two 16-year-olds and one 15-year-old, also were in possession of items from two other robberies.
The three were charged with second degree burglary and will appear in juvenile court.