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A man accused of burglary reportedly used GPS data embedded in Facebook and Instagram photos to break into people's homes and steal their underwear, according to police.
For at least a year, 44-year-old Arturo Galvan, of Menifee, allegedly snatched up the unmentionables of men and women alike -- sometimes as his victims slept close by. He also stands accused of hauling off electronics such as computer laptops and tablets.
Investigators say Galvan identified his victims by hanging out in public gathering places in Fullerton and Orange and searching for social media posts where people “checked in” or otherwise provided clues to their location, according to Fullerton Police Sgt. Kathryn Hamel.
Galvan then allegedly searched through his victim’s posted photos, combed through GPS data attached to the digital images and mapped them to find out where they lived, Hamel said.
Along with women’s bras and underwear, Galvan occasionally stole undergarments from male roommates, Hamel said.
He also didn’t discriminate between stealing clean clothes from a drawer or soiled garments in a laundry basket, according to police.
Asked what his motive might have been, Hamel responded, “I wish I knew."
Police said they found the purloined panties stored in a garage next to Galvan’s home. Electronics were piled inside his house.
Authorities cracked the case over the weekend, when a caller in Fullerton reported seeing Galvan prowl through the neighborhood Saturday night. After a three-hour search, Galvan was caught and arrested. He was booked on suspicion of receiving stolen property, peeping and prowling and resisting arrest.
He has since posted $200,000 bail; no court date has been assigned.
Though Galvan’s case is unusual, it can serve as a cautionary tale for social media users, Hamel said. People should be aware of –- and turn off when appropriate –- their location settings on their phone to protect their privacy, she said.
Privacy settings on social media accounts and phone apps should also be routinely checked, she added.
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