Fullerton PD: Burglary suspect used pictures on social media to target female victims


A residential burglary suspect arrested last week by the Fullerton PD is suspected of using photos posted on Instagram and other social media sites to pinpoint where his college-age female victims lived to steal their computers, iPads, TVs — and their panties and bras, the FPD said Monday.

“He seems to be fixated on college-aged women,” FPD Lt. Andrew Goodrich said of suspect Arturo Galvan, 44, of Menifee, who was arrested late Thursday after a three-hour search near Dorothy Lane and Raymond Avenue.

Goodrich said Galvan appeared to be stealing items of value but that the burglaries had a sexual component to them. In addition to panties and bras, Galvan is suspected of stealing framed photos of women and jewelry from the homes and apartments he is suspected of hitting.

Victims on Monday arrived at the FPD to retrieve stolen items.

The Fullerton PD said Galvan, a maintenance worker and a married father of three preteen girls, is believed to be responsible for six burglaries at four locations dating back to October in the city.

In those burglaries, items belonging to 24 victims have been identified, Goodrich said.

In addition, Galvan is believed to be responsible for a rash of burglaries involving a similar number of victims near Chapman University in Orange earlier this year.

In some cases during the break-ins the victims were home, police said.

The FPD is working with police agencies in cities in Orange and surrounding counties to determine if there are more victims in the ongoing investigation, Fullerton PD Sgt. Kathryn Hamel said.

A garage-full of stolen items was recovered from Galvan’s home on Monday following the issuance of a search warrant, Hamel said.

Galvan was released from jail Saturday after posting bail of $200,000.

He faces charges of burglary, receiving stolen property, and peeping and prowling.

For the Fullerton PD, Galvan’s arrest serves as a cautionary tale for users of social media who post photos on Instagram and other Internet sites.

Police believe Galvan obtained pictures of his victims posted online and then obtained the GPS coordinates embedded in the photos.

Hamel has spoken in the past at personal safety conferences warning people about unsafe use of social media, such as allowing anyone to access posted photos. She urged users of social media to check their private settings on their mobile devices.

“Make sure to check your social media and app settings often and every time you install an update as the settings tend to revert without notice,” Hamel said.

Below is a screen grab from a PowerPoint presentation of Hamel’s:

Protect yourself