House Robbed in Columbia Heights, Alleged Burglar or Associate Takes Self Portrait that Automatically Uploaded to Owner’s Photostream

Self photo of alleged burglar or his associate that automatically uploaded to iphoto stream

The Columbia Heights Listserv has circulated a photo of an alleged burglar or his associate who took a self portrait from the victim’s phone. I asked for more info from the victims of the burglary and this is what they say:

“Our place was broken into Friday afternoon or in the middle of the night. We’re in a row house in Columbia Heights near 11th.

On Saturday afternoon, we realized a laptop and binoculars were missing, and my iPad and an old iPhone I used as a desk clock were also missing. Sigh. This is the second time in the last year. (We were burglarized last November – busted in door, TV yanked off the wall, missing assorted electronics.) One theory is that this time the burglars used the brand new ladder we had just purchased the previous weekend to come in through an unlocked window.

Fast forward to yesterday, Wednesday, when I noticed a few pictures on my iPhone photostream that I hadn’t taken. I used the Lab app on my current iphone to figure out that these photos were taken with a 3GS (my old phone) on Tuesday afternoon. Two snaps of an iPad (probably mine?) and another iPhone. Oh, and a selfie of some guy I don’t recognize. The burglar? The fence? The customer? The prayer card in the background is a nice touch.

So that’s what we know. I filed a police report online. If anyone recognizes this guy, they can call the MPD Anonymous Tipline (202) 727-9099 or email me at hthomly(at)”

90 Comment

  • Was the selfie taken in the owner’s house?

    • The way I understand it, this guy stole the phone and took this selfie later, but the photo stream is visible from all of the linked i-devices (allowing the victim to see it from his own iphone)

    • No – the pic wasn’t taken at our place. And no GPS info in the photo file.

    • It may be a “selfie” from someone who bought the device from the thief, this is the US, where people are assumed innocent until proven guilty… Let’s be careful about our statements people!

      • Taking possession of stolen goods is a crime as well. They are only innocent in terms of the law… Back in reality… This guy had something to do with, or was the thief himself.

      • Innocent?! you are a fool

        • The term “Innocent until proven guilty” isn’t something I just made up, you’re actually saying the US Legal System is a Fool. –

          Someone’s parents or friends may steal things and then give them to their children or friends as gifts, this does not make their children accessories to the crime… Sometimes a person filing a report or complaint may be doing so under false or fraudulent pretense (not saying that’s what happened here). There are reasons these rules were made, to be ignorant of that just because you see a picture of a person attached is what’s truly Foolish.

          Stop watching Nancy Grace and grow up.

          • you’re wrong. possession of stolen goods is a crime. this guy is a criminal and i hope he is found and rots in jail.

          • Just as a reminder – Stop watching Nancy Grace and grow up.

          • “Innocent until proven guilty” is for the justice system. We’re free to think what we want about a person based on our own judgement of the evidence.

          • An innocent guy that people on the web site pointed out as a Boston Marathon Bombing suspect committed suicide before cops even got to the real guys who did it, why? Because his reputation was destroyed already by having his face plastered on the internet simply for having the same backpack as the guys who committed the crime.

            There’s a history of witch hunts in this country as well, where mere speculation about someone in public led to them being publicly tortured and murdered.

            The guy may indeed be guilty, but that’s not for us to judge, we’re all biased individuals because we aren’t bound to uphold the law. Inflammatory speculation and comments about guilt are what divide communities, and a growing problem. Responsible people who think in an adult manner think about the impact of their public statements.

          • “possession of stolen goods is a crime”

            Umm, no. Possession of goods you know to be stolen is a crime. Big difference. If a friend gives you a phone and you don’t know it’s stolen, you aren’t a criminal by possessing it.

          • someone who possesses a stolen iPhone is a criminal who deserves to rot in jail. and thanks but i have no idea who nancy grace is.

          • if your friend gives you an iphone and you don’t assume it is stolen you are either a liar or a criminal too.

          • The Reddit situation was terrible, and my heart goes out to the family of the missing (now deceased) kid who was broadcast across the internet as a prime suspect in the Boston bombing, based on Reddit chatter, tweets, and retweets that suposedly the person’s name was mentioned on a police scanner as the suspect (which his name never was, and sadly few internet wannabe journalists and professional journalists wanted to sacrifice “breaking” the news in favor of getting any sort of real confirmation from BPD or the FBI.) But I have to say, this situation is pretty different. The OP is simply saying that this person in the selfie has his phone (or at minimum had it, or used it, at one point). That is a fact, not a presumption. Therefore, this person is worth identifying so that the police can talk to him and investigate whether he participated in the burglarly, whether he’s at all connected to the person who did, or whether he’s just some poor unlucky guy who happened to buy a stolen phone on the street from a random stranger. Also, neither OP nor the commenters are recommending broadcasting this guy’s name across social media. The post simply asks to pass tips to the OP or to call the MPD tipline and pass tips directly to the police, which is perfectly reasonable.

          • Such stronge words from a NON –

            You lose all validity with out a name, not even an made up one…


          • What a stretch to the Reddit thing! Is there any evidence that that poor kid was even still alive at the time he was briefly wrongfully accused? You have no basis to say he committed suicide because of it.

          • The US Legal System is a Fool in many many respects.

      • Let’s be careful about imagining excuses for everyone and every kind of anti-social behavior.

      • Yes, but that’s why the OP specifically wrote that the person in the photo could be the burglar, a fence, or simply a customer who bought the stolen phone. OP isn’t claiming the guy is definitely guilty or calling for action against him. That’s for the police to sort out. But even if the guy bought the phone without realize it was stolen, it’s important for the police to identify him, both to recover the phone and to hopefully get more information about the seller.

        • without *realizing*, I mean. Ugh, need more coffee.

        • Thanks, amazing how people are so quick to judge these days… I hope “pre-judiced” souls like this are not on a jury overseeing a case I’m involved in.

          Facts matter, not opinions.

          • What’s wrong with judging people on our own? When I sit on a jury, I’m more than capable of working from just the facts and to the standards required by the justice system.

            When I see a doofus clearly casing cars, I’ll judge him a criminal even though I have no idea what a jury will say.

          • You’re not judging people on your own here, you’re posting your opinion as fact on the Internet, which has a high potential for offending others. A jury is composed of several people to allow several perspectives to come to a consensus just for that purpose.

            There is no reality, only perception. We all view the world through individual filters – our personalities, attitudes, points of view – which influence our interpretation of events. There’s no doubt that these filters are largely the result of childhood learning. Once we acknowledge this, we can choose to no longer be a prisoner of those perceptions.
            People who say, “These are the facts” or “This is the truth” are speaking from their own perspective. Other perspectives do exist and trying to understand these other perspectives is the first step towards reason and maturity.
            +++ -Dr. Philip McGraw

          • What would you do instead? Treat everyone as a saint until a jury finds them guilty?
            People need to be reasonable and not mob the guy in the picture if they see him. But a phone call to the police would be more than appropriate. Unfortunately at least some people will always be stupid about it…

          • Besides, it’s not like our justice system is great at determining who’s innocent and who’s guilty. It’s pretty damn arbitrary.

          • OMG! Is Batman posting on POP!?

            Leave the crime fighting up to law enforcement, and if you know the guy say something… If you’re not involved, then don’t take matters into your own hands, and don’t act like part of an angry mob by making controversial statements online. That’s all you have to do.

            I think POP handled this post well by using the phrase “Alleged Burglar or Associate”.

  • Picture may have longitude and latitude data on it, so you should be able to find out exactly where it was taken as well.

    So should the police.

  • You left the ladder outside? This is the city. Either that gets stolen or used against you.

    • Super helpful now.

    • +1 My dad has never lived in a city, but he’s given me some great advice. One of his mandates: keep the shed locked at all times. Otherwise you’re giving a burglarer the tools to break into your house. At least make it harder for him by making him have to bring his own ladder.

    • DC CapHill

      Remember when Bluto Blutarsky climbed the ladder to spy on Mandy Pepperidge? That was proper use of a ladder.

      (Who leaves a window unlocked, on any floor of their place, in DC?)

  • If I looked like him, I’d want as few pictures of me floating around as possible.

    • +1
      It was Gordito in the kitchen. And nice gang symbol fool. Get a real job and please, please leave DC. Plenty of room in Wheaton for your crew.

  • Unsecured ladder in the backyard…. classic.

  • I’m inspired by the thief’s positive message of peace.

  • Twice in one year? Is there no security system?

    • vz

      As a recent first time homeowner, I have to ask, are security systems actually worth a damn? Do people actually use them? I always thought of home systems as relics from the 90’s. And do they still rely on land lines (which I don’t have)?

      • We have a security system. It is wireless, costs $33/month, and they call the police. Then the police show up. Haven’t had to use it once, but the couple of false alarms (in three years) have had the police drop by briefly.

        • Sounds like a smart investment. Much cheaper than the home owner’s insurance deductible if you stuff gets stolen. Besides, home owner’s insurance is only going to give you the depreciated cost, not the replacement value.

          • Not true for all policies.

          • I have gas pepper activated by motion detection, this is very safe when I am out for a long time 🙂 also cameras to see who is coming close to.

          • mtpgal

            FYI to Anonymous @ 12:32: protecting property with the use of force, like pepper spray or, say, a spring gun, is illegal. If someone tried to burglarize your home and claimed injury from the pepper spray, they would likely prevail in a civil suit.

          • mtpgal

            I should clarify: the use of force when no person is at risk, i.e., pepper spray or a spring gun set to go off when you aren’t at home.

      • Yes, I think they are worth it. We have had one for 11 years (in Columbia Heights) and have never been broken into. Our keypad is visible through the front door window so that it acts as a deterrent. (Anyone peeking in can see that it is armed.) We also have window bars on the first floor. Security systems work over a cell line now. Ours is connected by a land line but has a cell backup in case the land line is cut.

      • Uh yeah, it’s worth a damn. Especially if you live on the fringe of the ‘hood (ahem Columbia Heights, Petworth, Bloomingdale) in one of those nice houses that sticks out like a sore thumb.

        • Or a corner house. Much more likely to get broken into.

          • not true. we live in a corner house and have never had a problem. know why? because too many people from too many angles can see it. plus, it’s well-lit. plus, there is a pretty busy bus stop on our corner. my husband keeps an assortment of ladders in our backyard, too…locked up, however! that is key. also, leaving any windows unlocked is just foolish. lesson learned?

            meanwhile, whoever that guy is, he should be prosecuted. receiving stolen goods is a crime! that’s why you don’t buy stuff out of a van!

          • I’m not sure why a corner house would be more likely to be broken into, but I can think of several reasons why they wouldn’t be more likely. For one your backyard is exposed to a street and not just the alley (I would guess well over half of burglaries in this city are done by kicking in a back door or otherwise gaining entry to a house where the thief is afforded some coverage by a backyard fence of lower exposure to eyes on the street). The only reason I can think of for greater vulnerability is just the fact that there are more windows. But then again, those windows are exposed to a street, not a dark alley. Any stats to back up this claim?

        • that’s why i keep my house looking like sh*t

      • I was considering getting a security camera system instead of an alarm system. I would want footage of the event to give to the cops. @Kyle-w, what is the wireless system you use?

        • gotryit

          I put in cameras instead, and love them. But they won’t call the police. And I’m not sure how much of a deterrent they are because idiots keep doing stupid stuff in front of them.

        • Hey KatPost – I recommend FrontPoint security. I rent my place so I didn’t want to pay to have a system wired into the house. FrontPoint is wireless, they mail you the equipment and you hook it up yourself and use an app on your phone to control the system. It’s easy and not too expensive. Definitely worth it for me because I live on the first floor.

      • Security systems are a good idea in DC. These people being robbed twice in one year is a good example of why. There are many many poor people. They might have even been the same burglars. They could have avoided this headache.

      • I use to have a security system in my prior place. I think that the alarm going off will likely scare someone off, but twice I have the alarm go off (false alarm) and the police never came even though they were called. Personally, I would probably opt for an online system self install system with cameras. The upfront cost may be higher, but the monthly fee will be less or zero depending if you have it monitored.

      • Umm… Yes, security alarms are worth it.

      • binntp

        I have mixed feelings. about this. On the one hand, when my home was burglarized, I believe that the security alarm meant the thief had to move quickly, and only ended up with the (cheap-ass) TV, since there was limited time to look for anything that wasn’t out in the open. On the other hand, the police never came. Not when the security company called them, not when I called them, not for nearly 2 hours and 3 calls later. But I still have the system. Better something than nothing (or bars on all the windows).

    • I have a security system and at $30 a month it has saved me money.

      Thieves broke in the back door when we were not home. Alarm went off, they ran and left the $900 television behind. Police showed up two minutes later. I was skeptical of the cost at first but I must say for me it was worth it. That’s just an anecdote though.

      • novadancer

        +1000. same thing happened to us but also stole my laptop (1 week before April 15th and I do taxes on the side), and hubby’s racing bike. Police caught them as they were escaping in the ally. Worth every cent!!!

  • When my car was stolen (and recovered a few days later), about 8 years ago, I found a packet of developed photos from Giant in it. Some of them were of teens flashing gang signs and trying to look tough. I didn’t bother doing anything with them – I figured th police would just laugh at me if I gave them the photos and suggested finding the thieves with them. If we had today’s social media back then, I would have scanned them and gotten them all over facebook, twitter, etc.

  • I think that’s a Frigidaire FGHT2146KF. If memory serves, they only produced around 25,000 of those bad boys. It’s not much to go on, but you may want to start there.

  • I like how he has a picture of a saint in the background. I think there is a commandment that would apply here…

  • best response here is the note that you now have the precise latitude and longitude that this photo was taken. go to the police ASAP

  • iPad, iPhone, and a laptop (though maybe not a MacBook, to be fair), and no mention of Find My iPhone or iCloud?

    • 3GS doesn’t work with the Find iPhone app, you need 4S or 5. Not sure about the iPad – it’s it’s the First Gen, it might not.

  • This pic should be put on a poster and hung in front of DCUSA

  • I’ve seen that guy at the Apts on the corner of 13th and Taylor St NW.

    • Could you call Detective Rivera at the DCPD, (202) 671-6731 – he’d like to talk with you about this comment. Might be helpful for the case. Thx

  • I would also check craigslist asap. They probably took the pictures of the iPad and phone so they could sell them.

  • this is so awesome.

  • To the OP:
    I’m sorry to hear of this and I hope you are able to recover your stolen goods. I’m also sorry that you have to endure some of the ‘blame the victim’ comments on this thread. It’s reasonable to expect that your property is secured in your own home regardless of how the perpetrators managed to break in. You didn’t ask for this and I hope the photo you’ve posted helps.

  • 3GS *does* work with Find my iPhone, and embeds GPS data in photos by default.

    • It would help if the stolen iPhone was still activated to use “Find my iphone”. There’s a reason there’s no “Find my iPod” features.

  • …and hes got a saint on his fridge in the background

  • The man’s hair was cut very very recently. I would start with the barber shops on 14th and around Mt. Pleasant and ask if anyone recognizes him.

  • 14thandChapin

    Guy looks like such a tool

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