A man who took an arms-outstretched photo of himself with a cellphone found at the scene of a South Bay church burglary was sentenced Tuesday to three years probation and given credit for time served.

Adam Charles Howe, 26, pleaded guilty last month to burglary and receiving stolen property charges.

Photo from Chula Vista Police Department.

Thieves broke into Hilltop Tabernacle Church in the 300 block of L Street in Chula Vista on Feb. 10, stealing cash and a laptop computer. The crooks also forcibly entered a recreational vehicle parked on the property and looted watches and pursues from inside the RV, police said.

Total losses were estimated at about $10,000.

Investigators came across the errant mobile phone while gathering evidence at the site, searched its contents and found the “selfie” picture of a man sporting a beanie and white-rimmed sunglasses, Capt. Lon Turner said.

“(A) detective recognized where the photo was taken and went there,” the captain said last month. “Witnesses in the area recognized the suspect and indicated other areas to check.”

On Feb. 11, detectives arrested Howe after determining he was the subject of the photo. A search of his belongings uncovered property stolen during the burglaries at the church, according to police.

Officers located two other suspects in a riverbed area behind the chapel. A tent they apparently had been using for shelter contained more valuables taken during the break-ins, according to police.

 –City News Service

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