Indiana family blames social media post for burglary

File- This May 16, 2012, file photo shows a Facebook logo displayed on the screen of an iPad in New York. (AP Photo/James H. Collins, File)
File- This May 16, 2012, file photo shows a Facebook logo displayed on the screen of an iPad in New York. (AP Photo/James H. Collins, File)


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Many people post on social media; and while friends may know the latest updates in your life, thieves may also be keeping a close watch. One West Lafayette family thinks they were targeted as part of a social media driven theft.

The average Facebook user has about 338 friends.

West Lafayette resident Ryan Merkel said, “My father always told me — you’re lucky in life, if you have one true, good friend.”

Merkel is finding his father’s philosophy to be true after his West Lafayette home was burglarized Thursday.

“They took a brand new TV, a new Xbox One, the old Xbox and the TV in the bedroom,” said Merkel. “And my gun collection.”

He said most of the stolen items were Christmas presents.

“Well, I knew my kids were going to be upset,” said Merkel. “I feel that they won’t feel safe in their own home.”

Merkel was away from his home Thursday after his wife went into early labor. So as he and his family celebrated his son’s birth on social media, he believes someone took advantage.

“My son is born, and it was in the middle of the night,” said Merkel. “And by the time he was born, it was posted at that time.”

The post was from a family member congratulating Merkel and his wife on becoming parents, possibly tipping off the thief that no one was home.

A week before the burglary Merkel said he was working nights and wasn’t home for a period time.

“For a solid week, even during the holiday, and there was no problem,” said Merkel.

There is no confirmation from police that it was a social media driven burglary, but police did say they think it is someone close to Merkel that burglarized him.

Merkel said he wants other families to learn from what happened to him.

“I want families to be aware that there are people out there that are willing to take advantage of you at your highest point,” said Merkel.

According to one survey, more than 75 percent of convicted burglars admitted to using social media to target victims. So the next time you surf the web, make sure not to reveal anything too personal.

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