TRAVERSE CITY — Facebook can be a great way to share exciting personal news with family, friends, work colleagues, old high school classmates and perfect strangers.
And criminals, too, as a Leelanau County household found out this weekend.
Leelanau County sheriff’s Lt. Clint Kerr said investigators believe a Bingham Township homeowner’s Facebook post about going downstate for a Michigan State University basketball game on Saturday may have given an untrustworthy “friend” inspiration to commit a crime.
“They posted they were going into this game and their house was broken into,” Kerr said.
The homeowners returned from Michigan State’s 53-46 loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini at about 10:20 p.m. Leelanau County dispatch records state a 911 caller reported she heard a man’s voice inside her house after she walked in the door from being gone all day.
Kerr didn’t know whether the suspect or suspects were still inside the home, but said a trail of footprints in the snow led from the residence and into a nearby cul-de-sac where investigators believe a car was parked.
“Nobody chased them out of the house,” Kerr said.
The homeowners reported an iPad and an iPod stolen. Kerr said deputies found no signs of forced entry because the house was left unlocked. He said investigators aren’t certain the crime is connected with the Facebook post but find the timing suspicious.
“We don’t see many home invasions at that time of night,” he said.
Authorities haven’t identified any suspects and the investigation is ongoing. Kerr said the case should serve as a cautionary tale for Facebook and social media users who share detailed information about their location and plans online.
“Everyone wants to share vacation pictures and plans, but I’m not sure that’s a wise thing to do,” he said.
Members of the public with information about the home invasion are asked to contact the Leelanau County sheriff’s department tip line at 231-256-8696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.