Are you a member of your local neighborhood watch program? They’ve been around for decades now and prevented thousands of crimes from being committed. Although members of these programs are urged not to take action and instead report any suspicious activity they see, their growing presence has become enough of a deterrent for many potential lawbreakers. As the years have passed, the neighborhood watch communities have slowly changed with the times, and we’re now in a new era of crime prevention. It turns out the rise of social media has been a blessing for catching criminals.
Many neighborhoods across the United States have their own Facebook page dedicated to reporting crimes. The site allows for people to share details with other members of the community, whether that be picture evidence or descriptions, to try and locate suspects. Whereas people might not have been willing to walk the streets as part of their neighborhood watch, the ease of using sites like Facebook has meant more users are doing what they can to help.
One couple who have seen just how effective these pages can be is Jeff Horner and Kylee Fratto. In 2017, they were the victims of theft, but they were able to get justice thanks to the help of their neighbors. The internet has revolutionized the way that criminals are caught, and the actions of these Facebook users went completely above and beyond the call of duty. They stopped at nothing to catch the people responsible for this crime.
When someone you care about has a birthday, you want to go all out for their special day. You put up decorations, take them out somewhere nice, and, of course, buy them a present or two. That’s exactly what Jeff Horner, a resident of Independence, Missouri, had in mind for the birthday of his fiancée Kylee Fratto. He wanted to give her a day that she’d never forget… and in a way, he did. While he had no reason to expect that things wouldn’t go to plan, he was caught off guard by the events that rocked their special day together. Was Kylee’s birthday ruined before it had barely begun?
Waking up on her big day, Kylee wasn’t sure what to expect. However, the last thing she thought she’d find was her boyfriend upset. It wasn’t like him to be this way, especially when he’d been so excited for her birthday. She knew immediately that something was wrong, but not being aware of what Jeff had planned for her birthday, she didn’t know what had happened to leave him this way. Was it something serious? Had one of their family members been hurt or had some bad news? Kylee’s mind was going at a hundred miles a minute trying to work out what was wrong when Horner finally told her what had happened.
Horner had ordered his fiancée some presents to celebrate her birthday, but they’d never shown up. He’d received a notification from the company delivering the parcels saying that they were out on his front porch, but when he went to check, there was nothing there. Was the delivery notification a lie, or had something happened to the packages before he could get to them? Whatever the case, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d ruined his partner’s special day. He’d been so excited for Kylee to open her presents.
Kylee hated seeing her fiancé so upset on what was supposed to be a happy day. She confessed that she had no expectations of Jeff to buy her anything, and that knowing he’d gotten her something was at least a comforting thought. However, waking up to find her fiancé so upset about the missing presents was not how she wanted to start her day. A part of her wanted them back to give him peace of mind. Was there anything that they could do, or were her presents gone forever?
Fortunately for the couple, there was something that they could do to check whether the presents had actually been delivered. On the front of Horner’s property was a CCTV camera. He’d had it put up there to watch for any strange behavior on his front yard. It might sound like a drastic step for someone living in Independence, Missouri, but he and Kylee had been victim to a spate of thefts in the past. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Was this the key to finding out the truth?
History of theft
It was only a few months earlier that Kylee’s car had been broken into. The thieves had been successful in getting into the vehicle and stealing several items left inside. One of these had been a human anatomy textbook that had set Fratto back $450 when she’d first bought it. Such an expensive item was not something that she wanted to lose, but the people who broke into her car didn’t care about that. Could those responsible for stealing from her before be the ones who’d taken her presents?
It wouldn’t be the first time they’d come back. At least, that’s what Fratto assumed. Another break in attempt was made on her car not long after, only this time the culprit was caught on film. Although she wasn’t certain, Kylee believes he was the same man responsible for stealing her possessions before. The footage of the break-in wasn’t too identifiable, but she did pick up that the man had a tribal tattoo on his arm. So, had he struck again and stolen her presents?
As it turns out, the main culprit of the crime was actually female. The presents had indeed been delivered that morning, and the CCTV footage showed a man and a woman acting suspiciously around the front of Horner’s property. The woman seemed to stop for a minute on the sidewalk before she started to approach the house. With the way the camera was positioned, it couldn’t see the front door. However, a few seconds later it showed everything that the couple needed to see.
After walking up to the front door, the woman then turned around and left, only this time she had several parcels in her hands. There’s no denying that the items she’d taken belonged to Horner and were the presents he’d been expecting to receive that very morning. Neither of them could quite believe that this stranger would have the audacity to walk up to their house and take their parcels like that in broad daylight. At least they now had evidence that a crime had taken place.
The first thing that Horner and Fratto did was call the police. However, rather than wait around for the cops to show up, they had another plan up their sleeves. When Kylee’s car was broken into in the past, she’d posted about it on a Facebook page called Stolen KC. It’s a space for people in the Kansas City metropolitan area to report any items that have been stolen, and the couple hoped someone on the page might recognize their culprits. The response was immediate and blew them away.
It turned out that people on Facebook knew who was responsible for the theft of Horner’s presents. He told news reporters that within a matter of minutes, they were getting names, profiles, and even locations. This was useful information that the couple could convey to the police who hadn’t even arrived on the scene yet. What had started out as a birthday gone wrong was suddenly becoming a much brighter day. After all this, would Kylee finally receive the presents her partner had bought for her?
Handing over evidence
When the police arrived, Horner and Fratto had everything they needed for the cops to do their job. They had CCTV images that showed the crime taking place, multiple accounts backing up the identity of the woman responsible, and even a phone number for the man supposedly connected to her. The police were astounded by all the evidence handed to them, and they wasted no time putting it to use. They started searching for the culprits and shortly after made a breakthrough.
Matter of time
Once they’d done all they could to help the police, the couple turned to Facebook once again. Fratto informed the Stolen KC page that the cops were on their way to check out the house they believed belonged to the culprits. She also told them that the evidence they’d collected from the people on the social media site was enough for the police to make an arrest. If this woman was indeed the one responsible for ruining Fratto’s birthday, she wouldn’t be getting out of this without punishment.
Close to home
As it turned out, the cops didn’t have to venture all the way across Kansas City to find the suspect. She was only a few doors down, which perhaps explains why she took the risk when she stole Horner’s presents in broad daylight. It wasn’t far for her to go to store them away. The woman in question lived so close to the couple that they were able to watch her get arrested. With the culprit now in the back of a police car, would Fratto finally get her presents?
Unfortunately for the birthday girl, the police were only able to recover two of the presents that Horner had bought for his fiancée. The rest were unaccounted for, which meant that half of the money Horner spent on his partner went to waste. Although it wasn’t the outcome they were hopeful for, it was a more positive end to a day that had been incredibly stressful for the couple. It certainly proved to be one of Kylee Fratto’s more memorable birthdays, even if it wasn’t the best.
Still at large
After the incident, Fratto made one final post on the Stolen KC Facebook page to let everyone know what the latest was on the situation. She posted that the woman identified in the CCTV images was charged with theft and arrested, however, the man had yet to be picked up. When the police had arrived at the house, the other suspect was nowhere to be seen. Although the couple was hopeful that the cops would pick him up soon, they were worried they might be going after the wrong person.
When people on Stolen KC helped Fratto and Horner to identify the two people in the CCTV images, a lot of information was sent to the couple. While most Facebook users were certain who the two people were, not everyone was so sure. At least one person wrote saying that the man they believed to be the accomplice was actually innocent. If that was true, all of his personal information was being thrown to the wolves despite not being guilty. Fratto and Horner didn’t want to arrest an innocent man.
Whether he was responsible or not, the couple were still immensely grateful to the people on Facebook who had come to their aid when they needed it. Even though these people were strangers, they’d done what they could to help out, and Fratto didn’t know how she could possibly thank them. All these people had restored her faith in humanity so shortly after it had been destroyed. They also reminded her that for every bad person out in the world, there’s a good one stopping them.
In light of the arrest, Fratto was hopeful that the culprit would finally learn a lesson. She mentioned that the woman’s karma had come back to bite her and that there was no escape from what she’d done. Fratto also lambasted anyone who followed in the culprit’s footsteps, as stealing other people’s property just isn’t acceptable. She said, “If you want something, get a job, pay for it yourself.” Her fiancé had worked hard to buy those presents, and some of that hard work had now gone to waste.
The experience has taught both Fratto and Horner to be more cautious when it comes to online shopping. The popularity of buying things online has increased dramatically in recent years, but this has led to a rise in thefts. Some people are now afraid of buying items on the internet in case they end up in the same situation as the couple. While the potential of theft shouldn’t put anyone off online shopping, it should certainly increase awareness about the dangers that come from doing so.