‘Selfie’ burglar arrested after noise disturbance

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OREM — Police arrested a man after a noise disturbance Wednesday morning. He was tied to three prior burglaries in Orem, police said.

Provo police were dispatched to a reported noise disturbance at the Baymont Inn & Suites at 2230 N. University Parkway, according to Orem police Lt. Craig Martinez. When police arrived on scene, the man in question fled the scene on foot. Police pursued the man on foot for a short distance before they caught him and took him into custody.

Upon further investigation, police found evidence in the hotel room that linked the man to three previous burglaries, Martinez said. Iseli Lotaki, 34, from Lehi had burglarized the laundry room at the Oakcrest apartments, Village on the Parkway complex and the Chambery condominiums, Martinez said.

Lotaki would use forced entry, sometimes breaking locks, to enter the laundry rooms and then would burglarize the coin machines and vending machines, Martinez said. He also caused damage to TVs and other equipment in the laundry rooms.

During one of the burglaries on Aug. 15, Lotaki saw a surveillance camera in the room and looked up at it before damaging it to stop the recording, Martinez said.

“But, the last image we got was a very close-up, it almost looked like a cellphone selfie, from the video surveillance,” Martinez said.

The Orem Police Department dubbed Lotaki the “surveillance selfie suspect” after releasing the photo from the video surveillance. Lotaki was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernal, failure to stop at command of law, burglary, theft, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools.

Contributing: Cleon Wall


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