9-Year-Old Thief Arrested After Alexa Device Recorded His Voice During Break-In

Published July 27, 2017
Published July 27, 2017

The young culprit made the mistake of accidentally activating the smart home device while stealing from the apartment.

Alexa Echo Break In

Guillermo Fernandes/Flickr

One of the things that we worry about when purchasing smart speaker devices is that they will catch us unaware and record things we wish they hadn’t. But after a recent break-in that took place in a small Massachusetts town, one Amazon Alexa owner is certainly happy that the device was recording.

That’s because, after her apartment was broken into and stolen from, the evidence of the crime collected from the Alexa was instrumental in finding the culprit — a nine-year-old boy.

The Gloucester Times reports that this Tuesday, the young boy broke into his neighbor’s apartment in Gloucester and stole an iPhone, phone charger, cash, and several other items.

The victim suspected her neighbor’s child but had no proof that it was him.

That is, until she checked her Alexa Echo, and discovered that it had recorded a voice that wasn’t her own, and one that sounded like that of her young neighbor.

She presented this evidence to the police, who went over to question her neighbor’s son. He initially denied responsibility for the crime, but, after being presented with the audio evidence, he quickly confessed and led police to where he had hidden his ill-gotten gains.

Though some of the items were irretrievably damaged by being stashed outside, the woman recovered most of the items stolen from her, including $46 that the boy had hidden in his sneakers.

The young culprit will now be facing trial in juvenile court for the theft.

This is not the first incident in which a smart home device has been used as evidence in a criminal matter. In the future, it is likely that police will frequently search such devices for audio evidence that could help in solving crimes.

Next, learn about the Google Home that called 911 during a dangerous domestic dispute.

Gabe Paoletti
Gabe is a New York City-based writer and an Editorial Intern at All That Is Interesting.