CHULA VISTA, CA (KSWB) — Police used a “selfie” photograph found on a cell phone left at the scene of a South Bay church burglary to track down and arrest three suspects in the crime, authorities said Wednesday.
The break-in at Hilltop Tabernacle Church at 346 L Street was discovered on Feb. 10. Someone broke into the building and ransacked the church, taking cash and a laptop computer, investigators said. The thief or thieves also broke into a recreational vehicle parked on the property and stole several purses and watches. The total loss was estimated at $10,000.
Police found an cell phone that a robber apparently left at the crime scene. Investigators found a “selfie” photo on the phone, and a detective recognized the location where the photo was taken as Harboside Park in Chula Vista. Police took the photo to the park and showed it to people. One of them recognized the person in the photo, identified him as 26-year-old Adam Howe and told officers where to look for Howe, police said.
The next day, police found Howe. They searched his belongings and found several items that had been taken from the church, according to police.
Some of the stolen property was still missing, so police searched an area near the church that Howe allegedly frequented. They found a young man and a woman in a tent, and more items taken from the church were in their tent. Police arrested Mario Nava, 27 and Victoria Core, 19, for possession of stolen property. They two denied taking part in the burglary.