EL PORTAL, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida woman was the victim of a car theft, but an online search led to a crime connection.
A Google search is all about getting answers and finding information, but in this case, a Google search by a suspect landed him behind bars.
The victim’s car was stolen from the area of Northeast 89th Street and Eighth Court in Northeast Miami-Dade, Wednesday.
“Count one, grand theft auto is $5,000,” said the judge to the accused thief, Amos Shuler.
Police said Shuler, 18, was outed by his own online activity and a woman determined to get her belongings back.
“Yesterday morning, when I came out, I looked, and the car was gone,” said Gina Vlasek, the victim.
Vlasek’s cellphone was inside the car when it was stolen.
Her friend, Ana Campos, is a private investigator that helped her search for her car.
“She said, ‘Give me your Google password,'” said Vlasek.
“Give me your password,” said Campos.
Campos, of Campos Investigations, logged into Vlasek’s Google account immediately.
“In Google, there is a history,” said Campos. “To make a long story short, he Googled himself.”
After realizing Shuler had searched his own name, Campos did a search of her own.
Her search led to a 7News report from September 2019 regarding Shuler’s prior arrest in El Portal. She also found that he was a suspect in a Miami Shores burglary.
“Put two and two together pretty quickly and notified her, notified the police,” said Campos.
The El Portal Police Department responded quickly.
“We do solve a lot of cases based on the ignorance of those that break the law,” said El Portal Police Chief David Magnusson, “and we’ll take it.”
Police used the information they received from Campos and paired it with the address they had from a previous arrest.
They later found Vlasek’s car in the 500 block of Northeast 83rd Street, just a few blocks from Shuler’s home.
According to the arrest report, Miami-Dade Police arrived just as Shuler returned to the car with a key fob and the stolen phone in his pocket.
“I’ll tell you what, the victim is a real good victim,” said Magnusson. “Really heckbent on getting as much information as she could.”
Vlasek was determined to get her car back and to get an accused repeat offender off the street.
“I think that if you have a history of these crimes and you’re so stupid to do exactly what you did, then you kind of deserve to get caught,” said Vlasek.
According to police, Shuler’s resume also includes porch pirate for which he is facing new charges.
Shuler remains behind bars and is set to return before a judge, Friday.
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