Channel 2's Mike Petchenik reports

Man accused of stealing phone, posting selfies arrested

A man accused of stealing a woman’s cell phone in north Fulton County made it easy for police to find him.

Willie Ray Shirley, of Atlanta, allegedly took “selfies” with the stolen phone, and those pictures automatically uploaded online, the victim said. From those pictures, police were able to identify Shirley, who was arrested Thursday and booked into the Fulton County jail.

James Jones told Channel 2 Action News his girlfriend left her cellphone on the table of a Johns Creek restaurant last month, and when she came back to retrieve it, the phone was gone.

“She filed a police report and that was that,” Jones said. “We really, in all honesty, didn’t expect to get anything back over a stolen phone.”

A few days later, Jones said they noticed selfies of a man they didn’t know appearing onto Google Cloud, pictures that were automatically uploading from the phone.

“I bet this is the guy who’s got your phone,” Jones said he told his girlfriend.

After identifying Shirley as the suspect, Johns Creek police secured an arrest warrant for him. Shirley is expected to make his first court appearance at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“To get an arrest on a stolen cell phone is a very rare thing,” Johns Creek police Capt. Chris Byers said. “Putting a picture of yourself up there definitely helped us in this investigation.”

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