An alleged thief's need to showcase his stolen goods on Facebook may turn out to be his undoing.
Police in Washington D.C. are hoping the Facebook picture of a man with the items he apparently stole from a newspaper editor's home will lead to his arrest.
"Having that image is fantastic for us," said D.C. Asst. Police Chief Peter Newsham.
During the middle of the day Friday, a burglar broke into the home of Washington Post Enterprise Editor Marc Fisher.
An urgent e-mail from his son prompted Fisher and his wife to rush home.
The burglary impacted his son the hardest as the thief stole "his laptop, iPod, savings bonds and cash," Fisher wrote in a Post column.
However, the apparent thief did not stop there.
With the stolen laptop the burglar decided to post his picture on Fisher son's Facebook page, where all 400 of his friends could see.
In the photo, the man showed off wads of cash and wore the new coat Fisher had just received.
"I actually had to look at the photo several times before I even realized that that was the new coat because it had just arrived the day before and he stole it out of the Macy's box that it was delivered in," Fisher said.
Fisher wrote in his column that his son was coping with loss of his belongings before he saw his Facebook account compromised.
"Here was a space that my son had carefully walled off from public view, limiting access to his page to his friends and schoolmates. And now a lowlife stranger was taunting him in that presumably private zone," Fisher wrote.
As social media networks like Facebook make it easier to share information and photos among friends and family, law enforcement agencies across the nation are using it to help track down criminals.
A man who allegedly made threats on Facebook to detonate pipe bombs in the D.C. subway systemwas arrested last week.
In Fisher's case, no one was hurt in the burglary and thief has not been located yet.
But in his column, Fisher wrote the incident is: "a reminder of the new reality that computers and Facebook have created, a world in which a document meant to last a lifetime can disappear in an instant, and a photograph meant as an impulsive gloat lives forever."