Burglary victim helps police track down thieves on Craigslist - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Burglary victim helps police track down thieves on Craigslist

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BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (KMSP) -

If burglars broke into your house, would you call police or try to track down your stolen stuff yourself? One Minneapolis man did both, and he helped investigators catch a couple of crooks in the process.

Brooklyn Center Police are now praising the victim who turned sleuth track down his stolen merchandise, leading police straight to the people who may have taken it.

Of all the things stolen from Matt's house on Wednesday -- including a couple of flat screen TVs, two Playstation 3 and an Apple TV -- none was as closed to his heart as his computer.

"This is where my 27-inch iMac was," he said, adding that his roommate's gadgets were also gone. "I felt violated. I felt safe in this neighborhood."

So, Matt turned to the Internet to see if he could find his stolen iMac. Much to his surprise, he found it on Craigslist.

"I couldn't believe it at first. I mean, it's only been an hour or two since my house has been broken into," he recalled. "They've already taken pictures of what looked like my computer."

Matt then called the number on the screen to make sure the computer was actually his.

"I asked whether it had any warranty coverage left on it, any recalls left, and I asked, 'Could you give me the serial number so I can look it up on my end?'" he explained.

After arranging to meet the "seller" at a nearby Panera, he contacted Brooklyn Center police, who sent an undercover officer in his place. A few minutes later, two men showed up with Matt's stolen iMac and 27-inch monitor. Police promptly placed them under arrest.

"He did the right thing. He didn't take the law into his own hands. He made arrangements to meet up with the suspects, then he contacted the local agency," Cmdr. Tim Gannon, of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, told FOX 9 News. "Let us take it from there."

When it comes to working with computers, Matt is used to solving other people's problems -- but this time, he's glad he a little online detective work helped him solve his own.

"There are things that can be replaced, but computers become pretty personal," he said. "I have a backup, but you don't want your stuff to get in other people's hands if you can help it."

Investigators are still building their case against the two crooks, but they are in Hennepin County Jail awaiting charges of possessing stolen property. Police could add burglary charges later.

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