CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Call it a case of "selfie incrimination."
A man who took an arms-outstretched photo of himself with a cellphone found this week at the scene of a South Bay church burglary was in custody Wednesday along with two alleged accomplices.
Thieves broke into the house of worship in the 300 block of L Street in Chula Vista on Monday. Once inside, they broke the door down into the pastor's office and left a mess around the desks and file cabinets that they had ransacked.
They took cash and a laptop computer, according to police. The crooks also forcibly entered a recreational vehicle parked on the property and looted watches and pursues from inside it. Total losses were estimated at about $10,000.
Investigators came across the errant mobile phone while gathering evidence at the site, searched its contents and found the "selfie" picture of a man sporting a beanie and white-rimmed sunglasses, Capt. Lon Turner said.
"(A) detective recognized where the photo was taken and went there," the captain said. "Witnesses in the area recognized the suspect and indicated other areas to check."
On Tuesday, detectives arrested the subject of the photo, Adam Charles Howe, 26. A search of his belongings allegedly uncovered property stolen during the burglaries at Hilltop Tabernacle Church.
Officers located the other two suspects, 19-year-old Victoria Miranda Corey and Mario Nava, 27, in a riverbed area behind the chapel. A tent they apparently had been using for shelter contained more valuables filched during the break-ins, according to police.