Herald SunBurglar sends Brisbane woman Facebook message after stealing laptop, cash, jewellery and passwords
THOMAS CHAMBERLIN THE COURIER-MAIL
APRIL 01, 2014 5:51PM
THIS could be Queensland’s most shameless thief.
An Ashgrove woman whose house had been robbed was shocked to find a post on Facebook – from her own account – telling her she should be more careful with security.
Her laptop, cash, jewellery and a list of passwords were stolen, prompting police to warn “virtual” possessions could become more valuable to thieves than typical household items.
“Sorry, I left the keys in the hat out the front because I can’t drive a manual, and I did not take your chargers … they’re in a drawer maybe,” the Facebook post from the thief said.
“I try to be considerate, you should change your password and use more secure ones, and a locking filing cabinet, your passports will be returned to you, your locks are fine and rather tough to pick, no prints on anything for sure, sincerest apologies.”
Inner West Patrol Group acting Inspector Corey Allen told The Courier-Mail that although the case was an exception, it showed that thieves could target digital items through a house break-in.
The thief was also able to withdraw cash from a nearby ATM after the break-in.
“If they grab your wallet they might get $100 but if they grab your password they could get $1000 by getting on to your phone or computer,” he said.
“They could technically get into your internet banking, your social media.
“Computers and our phones, they are not just for typing a letter and making a phone call anymore; it is a digital life and he’s invaded that space as well.”
Fraud and Cyber Crime squad Detective Superintendent Brian Hay said he was not aware of an increase in break-ins targeting digital items.
He said the woman did not do the wrong thing by storing passwords but he warned people should be discreet about where they store hard copies of passwords.
“It’s opportunistic – I can see the time coming down the track when computers will be stolen not for re-sale value of dealing in a second-hand situation but actually (for) acquiring the data that is on the computer,” he said.
Det Supt Hay said people should consider not using their full names in online profiles unless it was for a specific purpose.
Insp Allen said people should change passwords if they thought they were compromised, move password lists to a more secure area and de-authorise computers.
“Storing passwords – they really are the key to your digital life – if you store them in a way that is easy for people to find, this is an example of what can happen,” he said.
The disturbing burglary sadly isn’t the only chilling account of a break-in.
Earlier this year a New Farm woman told how she woke to find a man standing in her room watching her sleep. At the time police warned of a naked peeping tom in the area who had broken into homes.
And who could forget the eery footage of a hooded burglar caught on tape creeping around a pensioner’s home as she slept in a chair in her UK home? The pensioner had installed cameras after being burgled at least four times in 12 months.