Facebook updates may have led to Knoxville burglary

Posted on April 2, 2010


Thee website Please Rob Me got a lot of attention. But it looks like someone took it literally.


A West Knoxville family wants to warn anyone planning spring or summer vacations to watch what they post on Facebook.

The McCubbin family learned the hard way.

“We had a wonderful and beautiful time. We were saying, ‘This has been the best vacation we ever had’,” Claudette McCubbin said about her recent vacation to Florida.

Unfortunately, all the relaxation was lost when they arrived back to Knoxville Wednesday.

“We got home, called the police and couldn’t even get in the house,” Claudette McCubbin explained.

The family room and bedrooms in the West Knoxville house were all trashed. Thousands of dollars in electronics were missing.

Boris McCubbin, Claudette’s husband, said several pizza boxes and a basket of clothing was left at their home by the suspect.

The family believes the thief or thieves knew the McCubbins would be gone for several days.

“We Facebooked everything,” the homeowner said.

Due to the ongoing police investigation, the McCubbins don’t feel comfortable discussing how they know the thief found them on Facebook. They do believe the suspect was watching their status updates on the website. Claudette posted messages stating when the family was leaving and how much fun they were having when they arrived in Florida.

“I wanted to share with our friends everything that we were doing. We know a lot of people. We have a really good support group. Who would’ve thought that one of them [a thief] saw that or maybe a friend of a friend. That was a huge mistake,” Claudette said.

The Knoxville Police Department suggests posting trip information after you return home from vacation.

“Don’t post where you’re going before you leave. Post where you went after you get back from that vacation,” Lt. Jerry Armstrong with the Knoxville Police Department said.

Claudette also has her own new Facebook rules.

“I would change the settings to only friends. Because, you can have only friends see your post,” the homeowner added.

The McCubbins said they filed a police report, but haven’t heard of any arrests in the case.

Okay, I have a couple of issues. First, there is exactly one person among my Facebook friends who know where I live. (I put my work address in Facebook. So if they want to contact me, they can snail mail my work and it will get to me). Take precautions. It’s cool to post plans. It’s cool to post pictures. It’s cool to update. But be smarter.

So obviously every friend on this family’s account  just became suspects and will likely be investigated. Those who are innocent will likely defriend them immediately. I would.

Second, not that this means anything, but I would love to know this family’s privacy settings on Facebook.

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