STOCKTON -- The owner of a wine bar in Stockton tracked down his own burglar, after a man broke into the bar and stole 14 bottles of wine worth more than $1,000.
Owner Paul Marsh, who says he takes a sense of pride that his wine bar, Mile Wine Company, feels like home to its patrons, with its dim lights and casual setting. That’s also why he was so upset on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, when someone broke in around 4:00 a.m., and stole a significant portion of his holiday wine.
"Man, somebody's not going to have a happy Valentine's that I planned for them. I felt a little violated. To have all that gone at $125 a bottle, blew me away a little bit,” said Marsh.
The lost wine included six bottles of special ordered Inglenook Cask Cabernet from Napa. But no sour grapes for Marsh, as he went right to work, posting surveillance video that captured the burglar walking around the bar’s back lot to Facebook.
Marsh says it only took two hours for someone to send him a private message in response to the post.
The sender recognized the man on camera as 33-year-old Kyle Cartmell, and directed Marsh to the general neighborhood in which Cartmell normally spends time. Marsh took it upon himself to track the location down.
"By the third house, I had somebody who said, 'I recognize that guy,'” said Marsh.
It was a halfway house, where alcohol is prohibited. In the recycling bin outside Marsh says he found a handful of empty Inglenook bottles.
"It's a very powerful tool, definitely,” said Stockton Police officer Rosie Calderon referring to social media.
Calderon says Stockton PD uses social media often to help track down suspects. They eventually arrested Cartmell at the halfway house after Marsh informed police the man was there. Cartmell was arrested on charges of felony burglary. Police say, however, they don't recommend being your own detective.
"We'd never encourage business owners or citizens to track down or go to the location of a possible suspect,” said Calderon.
"It's just great the community stepped up to help me find the guy responsible,” said Marsh.
Justice, Marsh says, goes down as smooth as a glass of Inglenook.