Phone app allows vacationing woman to see burglar in her home

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Keep an eye on the dogs? There's an app for that.

This one, however, ended up busting - and broadcasting - a burglar in the act.

"I saw an alert (on my phone). I thought it was my neighbor because my neighbor was babysitting my dogs," said Melissa Hasley, remembering the morning of July 7. "It's 5:30 in the morning. So I pull up the app and I see this guy out here and it's definitely not my neighbor."

Hasley and her husband, Kevin, were on vacation that weekend in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin had gotten up early to take a run as his wife checked her phone - and was stunned to find a cat burglar, instead of her canines.

"So I immediately called my neighbor and said 'don't go into my house!' She thought I was joking with her," Hasley said. "I said, 'No, I'm serious. There's somebody in my house right now.'"

Hasley's neighbor called police as Hasley watched the man browse her husband's high-priced bicycles - in real time. The intruder even tried tinkering with the family's flat screen television, as he held bags filled with their valuables.

Hasley was able to watch as the burglary unfolded because she and her husband bought two cameras from Dropcam. Each one cost about $150, with the live recording and alert system costing an additional $10-$15 per month, she said.

Bellevue police say similar inexpensive, easily-accessible technology has made solving crimes easier.

"When somebody calls in and says, 'hey, a guy's in my house and there's a burglary going on and I can see it on my cell phone,' every (police officer nearby) - we all go to that house," said Officer Carla Iafrate, spokeswoman for Bellevue Police. "So the chances are, in many cases, we've really caught a lot of burglars."

Police made it to the Hasleys' home as the burglar was leaving. Hasley said the man dropped the family's items as he ran from a K-9 team.

Officers never caught the burglar, but Dropcam has put the Hasley's video online. Police hope it'll help lead to an arrest.

"Backpacks and stuff went flying, so luckily we got all our stuff back," Hasley said, laughing, "And I got a really good story out of it. A very creepy picture."