Social media assists in return of stolen items

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

KAAAWA,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A tiny swimming medal won by Ian Lind's mother when she was on the University of Hawaii's women's relay team in 1933 was one of the keepsakes stolen by a thief Friday.

"That was returned. That's cool," Lind said Monday.

The crime at his Kaaawa home was captured on camera by his home security system. Web cameras snapped pictures when motion was detected in the house. The photographs he posted on his blog were reposted on numerous Facebook pages. A woman in Oregon recognized the intruder and contacted her relatives on Oahu.

"She called her father saying, 'That looks like uncle.' The family confronted him, he admitted it. his brother was here by 9 o'clock with a pillow case stashed with stuff that was taken," Lind said.

On Sunday evening Lind's camera, his wife's jewelry, his mom's medal and other personal effects came home.

"Almost everything that we know of that was taken was returned," he said.

Home security experts said this is a good example of how security systems can work. Cam Security project manager Rylan Sugimoto said break-ins and property crimes are fueling a surge in sales.

"An alarm isn't enough anymore. They want camera capabilities that actually can show people or things that's happening -- people stealing things, whatever the case may be," he said.

Lind is a journalist and social media advocate. But he's quick to point out that not all the tips he received were valid. Several pointed to the wrong person.

"Social media played a very big roll, but yet that key element was wrong," he said.

Lind said he now realizes the man who broke into his home did some handyman work on his house years ago. He is waiting to hear if police make and arrest. If that happens he's sure not what his next step will be.

"I can't imagine what the family is going through," he said. "They've been trying to work with this brother. They've given him a place to stay, trying to keep him out of trouble, trying to be supportive. This was a shock."

Lind estimates the value of the goods stolen to be in the thousands of dollars. The feeling of having the belongings back is priceless.