Scott Wanex hooked up a video camera to his computer to go live on the Internet. He captured a image of a theft suspect in his own home instead.
A man hired to do odd jobs in Wanex's Northeast Baltimore home allegedly pilfered 129 compact discs. But before the discs were taken, the man posed for a computer portrait, apparently not realizing his image would be stored on a hard drive.
So when Wanex and his wife, Carole Holmes, noticed the collection of theater and movie music, including the theme from "Gone With the Wind," was missing, they had a color photo to give police.
The suspect's name remains a mystery, however.
Wanex and the 25-year-old man were "playing with the computer," Holmes said. "My husband even jokingly said to him: 'This is for your police record.' Computers have uses you wouldn't even think of," she said.
A computer consultant who enjoys exploring the Internet, Wanex hooked up a video camera so he could chat on line while sending a live image of himself through cyberspace.
Police, hoping to catch the suspect, are distributing the photograph, which shows a man sitting at a desk dressed in a gray sweat shirt and wearing a Fila jacket.
The image, while clear on a computer screen, appears blurry and dark when reproduced.
Holmes said the suspect is the nephew of a neighbor and has visited her house many times. He helped paint and do minor repairs and was paid $160, she said.
He often was left alone in the house, but was told to stay out of certain rooms when unescorted -- including the living area where Holmes has several hundred compact discs and the computer.
The police report says the discs, worth $1,290, were taken between April 1 and Monday from the house in the 1200 block of Walters Ave. The suspect always carried a black backpack, the report says.
Holmes offered four possible names for the suspect and was trying to reach her neighbor to learn his identity.
Sgt. Frank Wagner, of the Northeastern District's major crime unit, has dubbed the man a "cyber-suspect."
He warned thieves and burglars to be extra careful in this high-tech age: "You never know who's watching."
Pub Date: 4/11/97