Links to Peephole Articles
Peephole tampering existed before Erin Andrews was victimized in her hotel room; however, most people became aware of this security threat after this event. Many people never inspected their peephole, knew they could be tampered with, nor ever heard of reverse door viewers.
The peephole is a vital part of our personal safety. You should never open your door without knowing who is at the door. You should routinely check the peephole to see if it has been tampered with.
The following links show that this is not a new problem and not only a hotel problem. Tampering can occur at home, at school, and while traveling.
Peephole removed and missing
This man broke into an apartment and claimed to be Jack Bauer from “24″
Seattle— A North Seattle couple found a mess in their apartment and police say their suspect believed he was Jack Bauer from the television show “24″ when he broke in.
David Stolte, 30, was arrested and charged with residential burglary.
Derek Doerschel and his fiancee Danielle Green came home last Sunday to their door ajar. Doerschel told KIRO 7 he found screens off their windows, kitty litter in the sink, food strewn all over the kitchen, a frozen pie in the oven, and a frozen crab in the closet. “The crab from the freezer was just sitting right here on the blanket on the bike,” he said. Clothes were in the bathtub. Doerschel’s credit cards had been removed from his wallet and were stuffed in a chocolate muffin.
The peephole in their front door had somehow been removed and was missing.
Doerschel said his fiancee was shaken up. “She was scared,” he said. “She was getting a little emotional.”
Doerschel called police and spotted a man crouched in the alley beside the apartment with his hands on his head.
He said the man threw something at him. “At first I thought it was a shell casing to a gun or a bullet,” Doerschel said. It was the peephole to the apartment.
When police arrived, they arrested Stolte as he tried to jump the railing on the fourth floor of the same building, where he often stays with his mother. Police said he implied he’d taken LSD. Court documents obtained by KIRO 7 state that Stolte has no known criminal convictions but that police contacted him several times over the past few years for running around naked, climbing on roofs at Seattle Center naked, and even smashing a bus window in Oregon and lying in the middle of the road attempting to get run over.
“It’s progressively getting worse,” Stolte’s mother, Ria Quinton said. She said she was “shocked and horrified” by the description of her son’s behavior on Sunday. Quinton said he’s on medication for bipolar I disorder.
Quinton says she’s tried everything, including taking him to the emergency room because of his behavior and trying to get him admission to Evergreen Health. She said her son is on the waiting list for a therapist.
KIRO 7 asked if he’s a danger. She said he’s only a danger to himself.
“I know he would never hurt anyone else,” Quinton said. “He is capable of damaging property.”
Quinton said she hopes a judge will do what she can’t: order that he spend time in a psychiatric hospital.
The Michigan Daily
WHERE: East Quad Residence Hall
WHEN: Tuesday at about 12 a.m.
WHAT: Maintenance reported stolen peephole hardware from third-floor rooms, University police reported. There are currently no suspects and the stolen hardware has been replaced.
Peephole Burglar Arrested
Epps was honored for arresting a suspect accused of burglarizing and robbing several residents. In April through June, Zone 2, which includes all of Buckhead, had several burglaries with a unique pattern. All occurred in apartment complexes and all had the door’s peepholes removed. Epps worked with apartment complexes’ staff to get any available video of a suspect.
In May a suspect entered an apartment where the victim was sleeping. The victim confronted the suspect, who then pulled a gun on him, threatened him and stole some items. The victim was able to work with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to produce a good sketch of the suspect. Epps and Officer Severance distributed the sketch to the affected complexes. They were then able to obtain security video of the suspect in the hallway entering an apartment and leaving with a gray bicycle.
June 19, while driving to a meeting, Lt. Rodney Woody saw a man fitting the suspect’s description. He radioed Epps, who came and spoke with the suspect on Peachtree Road near the Westin hotel in Buckhead. The suspect identified himself as Johnny Cleckley but said he had no ID on him. Epps radioed the dispatch operator with his name and the operator said there was a warrant out for Cleckley’s arrest.
Epps started to handcuff Cleckley, who then struggled with him. Cleckley then produced a handgun and pointed it at Epps, who drew his own gun and fired several shots at Cleckley striking him several times. Cleckley was arrested and transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta with severe injuries. Cleckley was positively identified by several burglary and robbery victims and linked to several crimes in Buckhead. He is a convicted felon who already has spent several years in prison.
Burglary at the Flats at Carr’s Hill
A University of Georgia student reported his apartment at the Flats at Carr’s Hill broken into Friday between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. The victim was reportedly asleep in the apartment when his door was kicked in and his Xbox 360, four controllers and the game inside of the Xbox were stolen.
The victim said two weeks ago, “someone had taken out the peephole installed inside of his front door.” This also happened to “a few of the apartment doors near him.” The victim had patched the hole up himself instead of calling maintenance, according to the police report. of Georgia student reported his apartment at the Flats at Carr’s Hill broken into Friday between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.
The victim was reportedly asleep in the apartment when his door was kicked in and his Xbox 360, four controllers and the game inside of the Xbox were stolen.
The victim said two weeks ago, “someone had taken out the peephole installed inside of his front door.” This also happened to “a few of the apartment doors near him.” The victim had patched the hole up himself instead of calling maintenance, according to the police report
Buckhead Police Blotter
2900 block of N. Fulton Drive, NW – A burglary at an apartment complex was reported on May 13. A 17-inch laptop, camera, Michael Kors watch and David Yurman ring were taken. The attic access hatch was displaced, and the main entrance to the door had been pried open, with damage to the deadbolt lock and door frame. The peephole had been removed.
Career Criminal Arraigned may lead to higher Commons rent
Police say the suspect is a career criminal who’s been arraigned more than 300 times.
They say he targeted the apartments he allegedly broke into by checking the mail room for stacks of mail – assuming the residents were on vacation; watching for when people left for the gym or work; and poking out peep holes to get a better view of whether anyone was home and what the apartment had to offer in terms of valuables.
Police say this man – 44-year-old Craig Cromartie of Framingham – was able to sneak in and out of apartment buildings throughout eastern and central Massachusetts over the past year, breaking into condos and apartments, sometimes staying for several hours, before making off with thousands of dollars worth of valuable property.
Police say he was a professional criminal, getting away with upwards of two hundred burglaries, and accumulating more than a million dollars in stolen jewelry, purses, rugs, artwork and other high end items – that is before he was nabbed by police in a multi-jurisdictional operation Monday.
“He was as experienced with this as I am with my job,” said Needham Police Sgt. Joe O’Brien.
Police in Needham started detecting a pattern with break-ins last month and spread the word, eventually involving more than ten agencies to build a case against Cromartie.
“Because of surveillance, and because of an exchange of information and people not being afraid to talk to each other, we were all able to get together and culminate in the arrests that were made yesterday,” said Brookline Police Chief Dan O’Leary.
Also arrested was 62-year-old Florin Ghita of Weymouth after police found about $250,000 worth of merchandise Cromartie allegedly stole being sold inside his Downtown Crossing jewelry store.
“It’s one thing to steal, it’s another thing to have a place to sell your stolen goods,” said Boston Police Supt. Paul Fitzgerald. “Mr. Ghita knowingly provided that service to at least this one suspect.”
This Garrison Square building in Boston was allegedly one of Cromartie’s targets. Those who live here say the thefts are shocking.
“I just remember when we got the e-mail and my boyfriend and I were immediately double locking our doors,” said one woman named Ashley.
“It’s certainly scary, I mean I’m glad he’s caught, but a place in this part of town or Beacon Hill or Back Bay is probably always going to be targets for break-ins,” said resident Nate Roberts.?
Police say they believe the suspect looked for specific high end items, for which he knew there was a re-sale market. They’re asking anyone who may have been a potential victim to give their local police department a call.
Posted January 15, 2012 by KC Investigations
Reverse Peep Hole Viewer Alert.
While serving court documents this evening and arriving at an apartment complex I observed a guy using a reverse peep hole viewer and looking inside the recipients apartment. He saw me and walked to his apartment across the hall. I informed the lady of my observation and advised her she should contact the police, to be careful of her male neighbor and to cover her peep hole from the inside of her
These reverse peep hole viewers are commonly used by law enforcement for legal purposes, which allows for one’s home to be viewed from outside and are also available to the general public for cheap as $20.
Something to think about is whether at home or a hotel always cover your peep holes because there are perverts and intruders who may be watching you.
Bolingbrook Police Blotter
Five Homes Broken Into in One Day
Bolingbrook police reports Residential burglary
A wood door frame was damaged, the peep hole was missing and a 55-inch TV was taken from a home on the 500 block of Preston Drive between midnight and 7:57 a.m.
March 20, 2011 By Nathan Gorenstein, Inquirer Staff Writer
The e-mailed threat was stark. “How would you like it if your sister went missing?” The next message was an insult. “Whore,” the writer said, and taunted, “You called the cops but they can’t do anything.”
Todd Hart, 26, had reason to believe his boast was accurate.
The victim, an ex-girlfriend he threatened for weeks last June, had called police about earlier disturbing e-mails. They immediately asked for copies.
Problem was, the e-mails had all disappeared. Twenty minutes after the woman opened each electronic message, it somehow automatically deleted itself from her computer’s in-box.
So a police officer sat down at the woman’s computer to see the next threat himself.
By July, the FBI was knocking at the door of Hart, a former SEPTA employee now being held in jail. On Monday, he will be sentenced in U.S. District Court for a string of electronic attacks on the woman, her friends, and her family. He pleaded guilty in November.
“For about a month, when all the harassment was going on, I would sit in my room and pray to God that it would stop,” the 24-year-old woman, who lives in California, wrote in a victim’s statement. Her name is redacted from sentencing documents.
In the course of a few hours one evening last year, prosecutors believe, Hart dispatched a sewer repairman, a pizza deliverer, and an electrician to her father’s house.
After a short relationship – initiated on an online dating site – Hart reacted with fury when the woman announced she was moving from Philadelphia to take an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in California.
First, he threatened suicide. Then came the stalking.
The self-deleting e-mails were an unusual touch: Even the experienced federal prosecutor in Philadelphia had not encountered it before.
Hart also used a second tactic, called “spoofing,” to make harassing calls that recipients could not trace to his telephone number.
Using “SpoofCard.com,” one of many Internet services that permit callers to hide their phone number and even change the sound of their voice, Hart made calls warning the woman that she had 10 days to leave California “or else.” In another call, he said, “You’re going to [obscenity] die.”
Thanks to modern electronics, that wasn’t all.
Using passwords obtained while they lived together, Hart canceled a doctor’s appointment, changed the passwords on the woman’s e-mail and Facebook accounts, took control of her bank accounts, and deleted her application to take the Medical College Admission Test.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy is asking for a sentence of at least 57 months, a year above the federal guidelines. “To say that this defendant has serious emotional problems when it comes to dealing with women is an understatement,” he has told the judge.
He also offers some advice: Completely revise a password whenever you believe it is compromised. And be careful with whom you share a password.
Hart’s attorney, federal public defender Mark T. Wilson, did not return messages seeking comment.
Hart pleaded guilty to stalking and unauthorized use of a computer. Such crimes are usually prosecuted in state court, but he is facing a federal judge because the victim worked at a federal institution, Livermore, whose internal police force the woman had initially contacted.
Among other scientific work, Lawrence Livermore is the nation’s top nuclear-weapons research lab, though the woman, a biology and premed major, was not employed in that research.
Hart has previous convictions for forgery, and in 2003 he was convicted in Burlington County “for almost identical” stalking charges, Levy said. In 2005, he was convicted for sneaking into a women’s bathroom at Immaculata College and videotaping students as they used the toilet. He initially received probation, but within 18 months he was in violation and served time in jail, according to court documents. He is in Chester County Jail for again violating his probation.
When FBI agents searched his Philadelphia apartment, they discovered a telescope like object called a “peephole reverser.”
“The agents tested it and determined that it enabled a viewer to look into an apartment through the peephole,” according to court documents.
“The Federal Bureau of Prisons does have counseling programs,” Levy said in an interview, “and he clearly needs counseling. I don’t know if he would be cured.”
Levy, who has wide experience handling computer crime, said it was the first case he had handled involving self-deleting e-mails.
No one from the mail service Hart used, BigString in Red Bank, N.J., returned calls or messages seeking comment.
The company is in financial trouble, according to corporate records, but at least a half-dozen other firms offer such services, according to their websites. Various technology is used. BigString promises that once the recipient clicks on the message sent through its servers, the mail will “self-destruct” within a specified time period.
On its website, the firm adds, “The mail, while looking like every other mail, will print nothing when the receiver clicks print on the computer and show nothing if the receiver tries to save the text or image.”
The second technique Hart used is more common. Spoofing has been controversial enough that Congress last year made it illegal to hide the origin of a telephone call “unless a legitimate business reason exists,” according to pending Federal Communications Commission regulations.
Meir Cohen, president of SpoofCard.com, said that despite the firm’s name, its intent is to provide legitimate services. As an example, he cited an on-call physician who may use a personal cell phone to contact a patient but wants return calls to go to his office or answering service first. The doctor can have one of those numbers appear on the patient’s telephone instead.
“The vast majority of our customers use it as a tool to protect their privacy,” Cohen said. “A large portion of customers are really women who want to protect their privacy and don’t want [stalkers] to have their numbers.”
Cohen, who was familiar with the Hart case, said, “My heart goes out to the victim.”
SpoofCard.com cooperates with law enforcement, he said, and “we will hand over records if we are subpoenaed.”
Contact staff writer Nathan Gorenstein at 215-854-2797 or email@example.com
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