Burglary video leads police to arrest high school student

rgallagher@newsobserver.comJanuary 4, 2013 

Qushawn Dy'antay Newsome


— Police charged a 17-year-old Broughton High School student with second-degree burglary and larceny, saying he is one of three men seen breaking into a home in a surveillance video viewed more than half a million times on YouTube.

Police arrested Qushawn Dy’antay Newsome at his home on Starrett Court late Thursday. Detectives are still looking for the others involved. (This article continues below the video.)

Newsome’s arrest did not result from the worldwide posting of the video, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said, but “it played a role.” Detectives were able to capture still photos from the video and distributed those internally, Sughrue said. The picture helped an officer start an investigation that led to Newsome.

Newsome was released on $30,000 bond.

Matthew and Elizabeth Robinson were traveling Dec. 29 when three men kicked in a door to their house in Caraleigh and roamed about looking for items to steal.

The thieves eventually spotted a camera in the living room and found a video recorder and monitor that showed them images of themselves. They cut a cable to stop the recording, and poured bleach on the recorder and monitor in hopes of wiping out the evidence, Robinson said.

But they didn’t destroy the hard drive, Robinson said, and he was able to post the 5-minute, 47-second video that had received more than 570,000 hits online as of Friday evening.

Robinson said he is glad his video could help police, but the uncomfortable feeling of knowing his home was invaded remains.

“We don’t like having that cloud hanging over us,” he said.

Newsome’s arrest warrant lists an Xbox 360 and controllers, a Wii game box and controllers, some television equipment and money among the items taken. Police did not say whether any of those have been recovered.

“The case remains under investigation,” Sughrue said.

The thieves in the video were wary.

They looked around a back door, then went to the front porch of the house and rang the bell several times. When no one answered, they returned to the back, and one kicked open a wooden door while another held a storm door open for him.

The video that Robinson posted shows the entry from both directions, with the doorframe splitting as the force hit it.

Once inside, the burglars checked several times for signs that someone was coming, lifting a living room curtain to peek outside.

One of the thieves seemed more aware of leaving evidence than the others; he kept the ends of his jacket sleeves pulled over his hands as he opened drawers and handled items.

Apparently a Christmas tree that tipped off the thieves to the recording, Robinson said.

The lights on the tree are controlled by a clapping-type switch, and something that the burglars did made a noise that lit the tree. That made them look around, and they noticed the camera mounted near the ceiling.

The burglary was, Robinson noted, the second time the couple’s surveillance cameras caught something worth viewing, though the other was not nearly as nerve-wracking.

“The only other interesting thing we saw was the earthquake last year,” he said.

Their dog, which was with them when the break-in happened, demonstrated that animals can sense earthquakes before humans. She clearly was nervous, running around the room just before the camera in the living room began to shake, Robinson said.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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