The Richland County Sheriff's Department is advising residents of Columbia, South Carolina to be on the lookout following a string of home burglaries in the area. The police department says that the serial thief has been targeting homes and taking off with their video games consoles and other small electronics.
The sheriff's department says that an "unknown" number of thieves have been targeting homes in the northeast Columbia areas. At least seven different homes north of Sparkleberry Road (an area near the intersection of Interstate 20 and a school called Spring Valley High School) have been affected. Two homes on the 200 block of Chimneyridge Drive were hit by the serial burglars, and one home, located at Freya Court, was hit by the thieves twice. Eight burglaries were committed in total, say police.
The police department has also released an image from a home security camera of a person of interest in connection with the burglaries. Police have asked those who can identify the person in the image (or have any information about the video game console burglaries) to contact them.
Police said that the thieves stole "small electronics" and "video game systems" from the homes. It's unclear which consoles or types of electronics were taken, but many consoles offer some form of protection in the event of a theft. When a PS4 has been stolen, owners can contact Sony customer support and tell them their PS4's MAC address (users can get this from their Internet router) and the police report number. Sony will then mark the console as stolen so that the next time someone logs into the PlayStation Network with the console, the IP address will be logged, allowing police to track down the stolen device.
As one would expect, this method relies upon the thief logging into the PlayStation Network. However, as there are more than 70 million PSN subscribers, it seems likely that the thief will sign up for an account once they boot up their ill-gotten gains.
Unfortunately, video game console theft is becoming a lot more common, as the demand for consoles (and their prices) increases. In 2017, a Nintendo Switch was stolen from a boy in surgery. Surveillance caught the thief in the act and the boy did get a new Nintendo Switch, but it likely caused a lot of grief for the family.
Four months ago, police in France donated stolen PS4 consoles to a children's hospital after opting not to destroy the devices. When police are unable to identify the original owner, stolen devices are often destroyed. The homes affected by the serial games console burglaries in Columbia will be hoping for a much more positive ending to their story, that the thieves will be caught, and their devices will be returned safely.
Source: The State