Phone app helps nab burglary suspects
By Casey Toner firstname.lastname@example.org December 26, 2013 6:12PM
Martel Curtis | Cook County Sheriff's office
Updated: January 28, 2014 6:35AM
A Palos Heights resident was quick to react when she saw two burglars breaking into her rental condominium — watching the crime-in-progress from Hawaii thanks to an app on her phone, police said.
Two Chicago men targeted the condominium in the 3900 block of Spyglass Circle because the suspect was a friend of the resident’s boyfriend, who also lives there, police said. One of them had been to the condominium before and knew there was a “cash room” in the residence where the couple kept $8,000 in a safe along with $1,200 in a money counter/counterfeit money detector, police said.
Martel Curtis, 21, of the 12200 block of S. Normal Ave., Chicago, and Darnell Blackwell, 26, of the 360 block of E. 88th Place, Chicago, are facing felony residential burglary charges stemming from the incident. They appeared for a status hearing Monday at the Cook County courthouse in Bridgeview and they are next due in court on Jan. 14.
The men broke into the home after removing a window in the attached garage at about 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, police said.
Meanwhile, the resident who was in Hawaii watched the crime unfold from an application on her phone that was synced up to three security cameras inside, police said. The security system is designed to send an alert to the phone whenever there is movement inside the house. Two of the cameras were covered up during the burglary, according to police.
The woman called her brother, who went to the house and called police. When police arrived, they entered the house and ordered the burglars to surrender.
Blackwell fled from the garage, entered the home, and ran up a flight of stairs, police said. Neither man surrendered so police called in a police dog.
Curtis surrendered in the garage and police sent in the dog for Blackwell after they searched the house and couldn’t find him, police said. The dog, named “Wolf,” found Blackwell hiding in a second-story couch and bit him in the left leg, police said.
The resident told police Blackwell was friends with her boyfriend up until about two months before the break-in. Prosecutors said police recovered two masks in the garage as well as a shopping bag containing gift cards, electronics and cash from the residence.
Palos Heights Deputy Police Chief William Czajkowski declined to say why the residents had a money counter and counterfeit detector, saying “the report speaks for itself.”