MUNCIE, Ind- A man in Muncie broke into the Academy of Model Aeronautics, stealing a van, thousands of dollars in tools and a tv, with the plan to sell it all online.
"The window had been broken out and the van was missing,” said maintenance manager Brandon Byerly.
Byerly received a call from the security company and arrived on the scene where they saw the suspect drive off in their van. Byerly then walked into the maintenance garage to find spray-painted walls, missing tools, and a giant clue written on the ground.
“At first I thought that was to make us look like an idiot, walking around a room looking for a clue that wasn't there,” Byerly said.
Byerly didn’t fall for it. Instead, he looked for real clues, like his security footage. He found a clear shot of the suspect in a green jacket. However investigators were going to need more, and the suspect gave it to them.
“The next day on Facebook he was not very bright and started selling stuff on Facebook locally,” Byerly said.
One by one, the stolen items started to appear on a local Muncie Facebook group from a "Tony Manship." Byerly alerted investigators, and they were on it.
“They did have cameras out there, but we didn't have any sort of suspect until he started posting this stuff online,” said Delaware County Detective Mitch Corry.
So Corry posed as a buyer and set up the sale, where he met and arrested Antonio Riviera- Manship, but not before other items were already sold.
“Yeah he sold some chainsaws and a hedge trimmer and I guess some other things,” Byerly said.
The total cost of all the stolen items is around $4,500. Byerly is hoping to get those items back, and Corry says even if they’ve been sold to innocent buyers, he still can.
“If they (the buyer) are just unsuspecting and purchase it, we can seize the item," Corry said. "And they’re out the money at that point.”
That's why Corry says it's important that buyers are wary of what they buy online. He says it's important to ask the seller questions.
"The questions should be where did you get it, how long have you had it, things like that," Corry said."If their answers are fishy, it’s probably not a good deal.”
Corry also says people should keep track of serial numbers in case items are ever stolen or leave an identifying mark like an initial on things you own.
AMA says that's the first break in they've had in roughly 20 years, and they've since added even more security.