Fresno man's dashcam helps police crackdown on crime hundreds of miles away

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno man who had his car broken into in Redding last weekend was able to help police track suspects through his dashboard cam which was also stolen.

Bilaal Qinnab just bought a dashboard camera called an Owlcam because he wanted to record some of the scenic drives he and his wife take.

But the Owlcam also recorded video of a man who broke into Bilaal's car early Saturday morning in a Redding hotel parking lot.

"One of the items that he took is a hat that says, dad. It's like my dad hat because I'm expecting," said Qinnab.

Qinnab's wife will give birth to their daughter in November.

A personalized water bottle printed with the baby's ultrasound was also taken.

"It belongs to my wife and it's from my daughter, you know. It was very personal," said Qinnab.

When Qinnab returned to his northwest Fresno home on Monday, he started getting notifications on his phone.

"He went and connected to another vehicle and he was trying to figure it out and that's when I got a picture of his face," said Qinnab.

Qinnab kept every motion-activated video and alerted Redding Police.

"They were like wow, you really know where they are. I'm like yeah, I'm watching them live and I have a GPS location pin-pointing their spot," said Qinnab.

On Thursday, police moved in on two people with Qinnab's help.

The man in the video told police he bought the camera on the streets for $30. Police are still looking for a transient they believe is responsible for the break-in.

"He was able to retrieve some video from the camera and provided it to the officer. That's part of this case, but it was pretty dark and poor quality, so it didn't have a lot of facial features," said Redding Police Sgt. Rex Berry.

CEO Andy Hodge of Palo Alto-based Owlcam says their videos have led to dozens of theft arrests.

"The owner not only got video of him breaking into the car but got video a few times after," said Hodge. "He didn't quite understand that this isn't a dashcam camera like they've been building for the last few years. This is the next generation where it's connected like your phone is."

"But I never thought I'll go down the road of tracking down a person, locate him, communicate with the cops from two different cities and nailing down live on the phone," said Qinnab.

Throughout this past week, Qinnab received videos of people shooting up drugs inside of a car, drug deals going down.

The Owlcam also picked up faces of people standing in front of his car during the break-in.
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