Burglar caught in the act twice, thanks in part to Facebook messages

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MUNCIE, Ind. (June 1, 2015) -- Police caught a burglar in the act twice in two months, thanks in part to his Facebook messages to an undercover agent.

Justin Harding, 24, appeared in a Delaware County courtroom Monday. Officers arrested Harding and another man, Aaron Hines, last week in the act of burglarizing a home.

"Who does this? Why me?" the latest victim told FOX59.

That victim, who FOX59 did not identify, said she was still scared inside her own home after the incident. A neighbor called 911 to report suspicious men entering the home while the victim was not there. Police caught the two inside, in the midst of ransacking nearly every room.

"I think they were doing it for the thrill of it, to see what (they) can get away with, really," the victim said.

Police may not disagree with her, either.

"He was known to us as a known burglar and also a known drug user," said Corporal Jeff Stanley with the Delaware County Drug Task Force.

A few months ago, Harding started Facebook messaging with an undercover task force agent.

"Lol, kno any houses I could break into? I'd cut ya off some (of) wat I get if it works," one message said.

When the agent asked, "Watcha tryn to get?" Harding replied, "Lol IDC guns jewelry scripts, something worth something [sic]."

"(He) said he was bored, tired and needed money so he wanted to find a place to burglarize to make quick money," Stanley said.

The task force called his bluff and set up a sting at a rural home. Court paperwork revealed more about Harding's comfort with the crime.

"(He) was extremely relaxed talking to the (undercover officer) about other individuals he was going to steal guns and weed from," an officer said in that papework.

Harding even told that officer, "there was a time he had stayed inside a residence he had broken into for three hours."

When he broke into the home the task force had set up, officers were hiding inside and arrested him.

"In 15 years of law enforcement this is the first time I’ve ever done that," Stanley said.

It didn't end there, though. Charges were never filed in the case and Harding got out of jail. A little more than a month later, he ended up in the latest victim's home. It led her to wonder what could happen next.

"They’ll just get out and do it to somebody else, maybe come back to me, I don’t know. ... I would like to see (him) stay in jail for a long time," the victim said.

Harding's criminal past extends back to 2011, when he was arrested on several burglary charges. He pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary in 2013 and got out of prison this past January.

Court documents revealed that in a hearing Monday, a judge made plans to potentially release Harding from jail again into the care of his probation officer. It's unclear if he'll face charges for the drug task force case.

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