Burglar caught in the act on web cam as homeowner watches remotely

by: Alison Grande Updated:

Steve Jochmann saw a man burglarizing his home as he watched remotely on his laptop.

REDMOND, Wash. - Redmond police are warning neighbors after a spike in residential burglaries, and one man watched helplessly from a remote camera as a man stole from his home.

 This year there have been 42 homes targeted -- twice as many as all of last year.

 Many of the houses burglarized are located on Redmond’s Education Hill and near Grass Lawn Park.

 Steve Jochmann's home on Education Hill was burglarized on Mar. 27 as he watched remotely.

 Because Jochmann has two dogs, he keeps an eye on them while he's at work by using a web camera and Apple's FaceTime Application.

  "I had the laptop sitting on top of the fridge (at my home).  It was watching the kitchen, keeping an eye on the dogs," said Jochmann.

 But Jochmann saw more than his dogs when a burglar burst into his house through an unlocked window in the garage. 

  Using the web cam and FaceTime technology, Jochmann confronted the thief.

  "I couldn't help myself. I turned the (microphone) on.  I said, 'Hey, get out of my house. The cops have been called.'"

 Jochmann said the thief ran right past Jochmann’s face displayed on the laptop in the kitchen and out to the living room, where he stole another laptop sitting on the couch.

 Jochmann said the burglar was probably in the house no more than 20 seconds.

 Redmond Police said more than half the burglaries are happening during the day.

 The Heavener family's house was hit at 3 p.m. on Mar. 13.

 Troy Heavener said he was working on a car in the driveway and then left for about 10 minutes, leaving the garage door open.

 A burglar got inside the home and took two laptops and a tablet.

 "My dad was upstairs in his office, which looks down on the garage,” said Heavener.   "He didn't hear anything.  He didn't see anything."

 A few houses away, a family was sleeping when a burglar came in through an unlocked back door and stole three purses and a computer on Mar. 3.

 Jochmann is working on installing more cameras. He said this time, he plans to get more than a brief look at the burglar; he wants evidence police can use to catch the thief.

 "If they do come in, their picture will be taken and Redmond police will get it," Jochmann warned.