A U.S. man known as the Facebook Burglar, who allegedly illegally entered Canada by kayak last year, was caught after his wife used the social networking website to track him to Toronto, she told a U.S. blog.
Steven Pieczynski, 38, allegedly used acquaintances’ Facebook status updates to determine that the occupants of a house were on holiday before he burglarized it.
He allegedly fled charges in New Jersey by sneaking into Canada by kayak last fall and was arrested in east-end Toronto one year ago.
Now, Mr. Pieczynski’s ex-wife is speaking out about how she used Facebook to give him a dose of his own medicine.
After her husband disappeared, Kellie Fry said police told her they had traced his cellphone to a tower in Toronto. She began combing through their home computer and discovered he had created a new Facebook account that had just one friend – a Toronto woman. She used the website to gather information about the woman and forwarded it to police.
“Within two days, I received a phone call from Border Control: We arrested Steve!” she told SimpliSafe, a U.S. home security company which features security-related stories on its blog.
The moral of the story, Ms. Fry says, is: “Be careful what you put on Facebook.”
After spending months in custody in Canada, Mr. Pieczynski was deported to the U.S. on Sept. 28 on three burglary-related charges, said Ed Davis, chief warrant officer for the Sheriff’s Office in Hunterdon County, N.J. He is currently in jail awaiting trial.
“This is winding through the system,” he said.
Mr. Pieczynski faces the charges in relation to a burglary in which jewellery was stolen on Aug. 31, 2012, in West Amwell township in New Jersey.
“What he did was he broke into a place and then he took off and then he kayaked into Canada,” Mr. Davis said.
Mr. Pieczynski’s Facebook notoriety started when a family from Wrightstown Township, north of Philadelphia, were away on a trip in September, 2011.
According to U.S. media accounts, someone broke into the home and absconded with jewels, gift cards, coins and DVDs. Neighbours reported seeing a suspicious Toyota with New Jersey plates near the house. This led police to Mr. Pieczynski, who lived a 20-minute drive away in New Jersey.
Investigators later found that Mr. Pieczynski was a Facebook friend of the victims and saw on his own account pictures of his car, which matched the description of the Toyota.
Police say that Mr. Pieczynski used the social-networking site to plan his burglaries. A search of his house led to further charges that he burglarized the homes of two neighbours while power was out during Hurricane Irene’s passage in August, 2011.