Criminal caught on (Web) camera

After Hours: A serial burglar has been caught with the aid of some cunningly employed technology

A burglar is today behind bars after picking the wrong house to burgle. His crime was caught in full by a Web cam, which the hapless thief stole along with the computer, but not before it had sent pictures of him to a Web site.

Ben Park, 19, of Cambridgeshire was sentenced to 11 months in prison for burgling the home of Duncan Grisby, a software engineer.

Grisby had been burgled previously and decided he would use his tech savvy to ensure any similar crimes against him in the future would be recorded for the police's attention.

Grisby set up a camera by his PC which was activated by movement within the room. It then began sending pictures to a website where they could be stored safely, irrespective of whether the camera itself or the computer was stolen -- which, in this instance, they were.

One such photo provided police with a perfect face-shot from which to identify serial burglar Park after he had leaned in to take a closer look at the camera.

Detectives investigating the crime praised Grisby and called him "an extremely bright man". They added that the image quality was "superb".

Detective Sergeant Alan Page, head of Cambridgeshire Police Burglary Squad, told the media: "The webcam made our job really easy. It was a pleasure to show [Park] the pictures and see his expression when we interviewed him.”

Park had 13 previous convictions for theft. He committed the crime earlier this month while on bail, having been charged with an attempted burglary in August 2004.

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