Online gamers watch Tempe break-in, help nab suspect

Crime caught on online game webcam
Crime caught on online game webcam

TEMPE, AZ (KPHO/CNN) – Online video games allow players to compete and chat with friends and rivals around the world.

But a gamer in Arizona can thank her fellow gamers for helping save her life when they watched on her webcam as armed robbers stormed the young woman’s house.

Several 911 calls helped Tempe Police make an arrest.

“By these people calling in is what really saved them, is what made our response get here very quickly,” Lt. Mike Pooley said.

The callers witnessed the crime, though they were halfway around the world.

“I wasn’t actually there. I have a friend that streams video games online through like a webcam,” a caller said.

And this is what they saw via a webcam at 5:10 a.m. in the morning.

The victim, an online gamer is sitting in front of her computer, when someone storms in.

The girl gets up, and moments later a man with a gun walks in the room.

“You know the interesting part that again on this is that, there were from my understanding, there were several callers from around the world, that were trying to find out who, where this victim was and they were watching this whole thing occur, while she was being assaulted and the home invasion was occurring,” Lt. Pooley said.

Police say the first caller was in Europe and called someone they knew in the U.S. who in turn called Tempe police.

“There was a webcam streaming this on the Internet,” a caller said.

A friend of the victim who was online was able to tell police where she lived. Within minutes, police were on their way.

“They were going to be here a longer period of time rather than just being there, getting what they want and leaving,” Lt. Pooley said.

Police found one suspect still in the apartment. He was identified as 27-year-old Edgardo Martinez. Martinez came to the balcony and told officers he was one of the victims, according to a police.

Martinez was arrested and booked into jail on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm and theft of a credit card.

Police say the alleged burglars had plans to take the woman and her roommate to an ATM machine and get money from them, but their plans were foiled thanks to virtual witnesses thousands of miles away.

Police were able to arrest one suspect when they arrived on scene, but a second suspect managed to get away.

As for the two victims, they are said to be ok.

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