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Family's home burglarized after posting vacation status on Facebook

Police are warning social media users after a family's home was burglarized when they posted their vacation status online.
March 27, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you're in the habit of spreading the word on social media that you're out of town, authorities are warning you may come home to find that burglars have cleaned you out. A family in Fontana recently had a close call.

Like so many others, Lavern Cheatheam and her family wanted to share their excitement as they started their vacation in Las Vegas. So they took to social media, posting on Facebook that they had just arrived at their hotel. Moments later, one of her daughter's Facebook friends wanted to know all about their plans.

"Somebody she knew ended up texting her to make sure we were there, asking her when were we coming back, how long we're going to be there," said Cheatheam.

As the family was enjoying their getaway, police say the so-called friends -- 21-year-old Michael Batson, 32-year-old Phillip McKnight and 20-year-old Tyrone Gibson -- hatched a plan to pull off a heist at the family's empty home.

Police say the suspects had pulled a U-Haul truck up to Cheatheam's home and started loading up. They took TVs, beds, sofas and art.

"We didn't have a clue until we got a call the next morning from the police inside my house, calling to let me know that they're inside my house and they caught some people in there burglarizing me," said Cheatheam.

Cheatheam may not have gotten lucky while in Vegas, but she sure got lucky at home. Fontana police just happened to be in the neighborhood doing surveillance on a recent thefts when they noticed the suspects moving out at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

All three are now behind bars, and Cheathum's belongings are back in her house. The three suspects are facing charges of burglary, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

Police warn this should be a sobering lesson on social media. Cheatheam says she and her family will no longer post online about their vacations until they've returned home.