Stolen surveillance camera leads to suspects who unknowingly recorded drug activity
The Scott County Sheriff's Department said Charles Newman and Chad Earl now face multiple charges.
SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- A stolen surveillance camera helped lead police in southern Indiana to two men who unknowingly videotaped their own drug activity.
In a release, the Scott County Sheriff's Department said 57-year-old Charles Newman and 37-year-old Chad Earl now face multiple charges.
They were arrested at a garage in Lexington, Indiana, with the stolen surveillance camera. What they didn't know was that the camera was wireless and connected to the owner's smartphone.
The owner, Rob Hickman, used an app to check the camera after it was stolen. He received notifications every time the camera was turned on and recording. Hickman ended up with a picture of a tablet device that showed the alleged suspect's reflection on the screen. Police also say the alleged suspects recorded themselves "participating in drug related activities."
Hickman said the camera was taken early in the morning on May 4 from the vacant Scott County property where he hopes to build his retirement home.
“We would have never found it if we didn’t have the videos coming to us,” Hickman said.
He first received notifications and video the morning the camera was stolen but did not have many clues until three days later around 2 a.m. on May 7, when he received 16 clips.
“I clicked the live button, and I got a minute and 17 seconds before he pulled the battery,” Hickman said.
Hickman was overwhelmed by the responses after he posted the videos on Facebook in an attempt to track down the suspects.
“I got a phone call, and the lady was very distinctive in the things she was telling me," Hickman said. "I was like this lady knows where my camera is."
Police say social media tips helped positively identify Newman and Earl.
Newman was charged with receiving stolen property, possession of paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and possession of methamphetamine. Earl was booked for theft less than $750, possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and criminal trespassing.
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