Police: Facebook status updates helped suspects commit burglaries

Gene Caraker (Source: West Frankfort Police Department)
Gene Caraker (Source: West Frankfort Police Department)

WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - West Frankfort Police arrested two people in connection with several burglary cases that have occurred in the past week.

Police say the suspects were able to gain important information over Facebook. The suspects knew that the victims were not home due to their Facebook status, according to the West Frankfort Police Department.

One of those victims was 79-year-old Harold Harper.

"My grandson put it on Facebook that he, his mother and I were going to church. And they knew us, this guy knew us. And his son picked it up on Facebook. And that's why they came to my house," said Harper.

According to police, Gene Caraker, 31, is charged with five counts of burglary, three counts of residential burglary, and three counts of possession of stolen property.

An unnamed white male, 15, is charged with five counts of burglary and two counts of residential burglary.

Mike's Drive-In was the first business to report a burglary on March 21. Police say the suspects broke in through a roof vent. Several items were missing.

"I came in on that Monday morning and looked down the hall and seen a cash box broken open, a file cabinet pried open and tickets scattered everywhere from a bag of tickets they'd opened up," said Crystal Leschke manager of Mike's Drive-In.

"I just couldn't believe it that someone had actually gotten into the place. We've been here for 60 years and no one has ever broken into the place."

The folks at Grace Baptist Church reported a break in on March 26 and 27. Items were missing.

Rent One Store was broken into on March 27. Police say the suspects forced open the door, but nothing appeared missing.

Two residences were burglarized and several items were reported missing on March 27.

West Frankfort Gas and West Frankfort Gas for Less each reported a burglary on March 28. That's where police finally caught up to Caraker, after the manager heard the sounds of breaking glass when she arrived at the business to open it up. She called police and they caught Caraker crawling out of the broken window.

The 15-year-old was arrested a short while later on Monday morning.

A garage was also reported to have been burglarized on March 28 at 8 a.m., the homeowner says several items were reported missing.

Further investigation has led to the recovery of the most of the stolen property.

Caraker is being detained at the Franklin County Jail and the juvenile is being detained at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.