Sheriff: Suspect identifies himself by taking picture with stolen phone

Published: Nov. 21, 2014 at 8:25 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2014 at 8:30 PM EST
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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Richland County deputies need help identifying a suspect that they say broke into a car and then went shopping with the victim's credit card.

But the piece of evidence they're using to track down that suspect might surprise you.

"There's always a way around everything, but if a guy's dumb enough to be stealing stuff, he's going to end up getting caught just by being ignorant on how it works," said Logan Newbanks.

As a Smart Phone Medic, Newbanks knows a lot about cell phones.

Deputies said that's not the case for one man they're looking for.

"This is what we call a slam dunk in law enforcement," said Sgt. Kevin Lawrence with the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

Lawrence said the story begins a couple weeks ago at Richland Northeast High School, where a student was taking the PSAT when his Jeep was burglarized and his cell phone and credit card stolen.

"That credit card was used at several businesses around the Columbia area with a grand total of $225," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said deputies normally get surveillance from the businesses from where a stolen credit card was used, but in this case, they're using a different tactic to track down the suspect.

Deputies said their person of interest snapped this selfie with the stolen cell phone and it wound up in the victim's cloud.

"The photo came out rather clear, and we need the community's assistance in identifying this suspect," Lawrence said.

Newbanks isn't surprised.

"Just about every smart phone manufacturer's got something built into it to back your stuff up," Newbanks said. "It's commonplace now."

And Newbanks hopes that might deter other would-be criminals.

Sergeant Lawrence hopes so too.

"Well, it always helps when they're going to take pictures of themselves and send them to law enforcement, so it's saying, 'Here I am! I broke into somebody's vehicle!' But, if any other suspects want to take a picture of themselves while they're committing a crime, we're always willing to take any kind of help we can get," Lawrence said.

Anyone with information about this crime to call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Your tip could earn you a cash reward of up to $1,000.

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