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Monitoring pet via Web, she witnessed burglary instead

Checking on her dog from work using an iPhone app that enabled her to view her home webcam, Claire Blevins, 23, found an intruder helping himself to $500 worth of items. “It was the creepiest thing that ever happened to me,” she said Monday.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Her little terrier may be more lapdog than watchdog — but the iPhone application that enabled Claire Blevins to keep an eye on her pet while away from home turned out to be a virtual Doberman of a home sentry.

On Dec. 28, the 23-year-old Denver woman was in her office cubicle, scrolling through her iPhone to check on her pet — but instead of cuddly Callie, she was stunned to spot a male burglar rummaging through her bedroom.

Blevins contacted NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver, which aired the brazen break-in shots, and after viewers recognized the man, police made an arrest.

“I’m really thankful I had that app,” Blevins told Matt Lauer live on TODAY Monday. “It’s good to know what he touched, what he went through and things like that. But it’s still the creepiest thing that’s probably ever happened to me.”

Blevins pulled up stakes from Virginia last fall and moved to Denver. She took a job as a marketing and sales rep and wanted to keep tabs on Callie while she was away at work, so she purchased an iCam phone app that streams snapshots from her home computer camera into her phone.

Blevins told Lauer the motion-activated photos had previously made pretty dull viewing: Callie sniffing around, Callie crawling under the bed, and occasionally, her roommate coming into her bedroom.

But on Dec. 28, Blevins got a rude shock. Busy all day at work, Blevins didn’t check her iCam until around 4 p.m. “I was sitting in my cubicle, and I was just looking through to see if my roommate Amanda had borrowed anything that morning, because when she does, she comes in and she waves,” Blevins told Lauer. “My dog was just chilling in my room, [but] I noticed a high photo count, and then I scrolled up to see that guy in my room.

“As soon as I saw his face, I thought, ‘Oh, no, that’s not Amanda,’ ” Blevins continued. “I thought it was my friend Alex because she has a key, but it wasn’t her, either.”

Instead, Blevins eyed images taken around 10 a.m. of a man rifling through her drawers, touching her bed, and even her pillows. Blevins told Lauer she believes the suspected burglar gained entry by intercepting a package containing an extra set of house keys, sent to her by her mother. The suspect, 47-year-old Peter Jones, has denied any wrongdoing.

The intruder made off with about $500 worth of items, including an iPod and some chargers. But the most traumatic aspect of the burglary was the violation of her private space, Blevins told NBC News: “It’s just weird and gross and wrong.”

Blevins agreed with Lauer that purchasing the iCam app was probably the best $4.99 she ever spent. And she’s thankful that in her subsequent scrolls through her iPhone, it’s only been Callie she’s seen, patiently waiting for her to come home.