Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Panty Thief Used Instagram And Facebook To Find Victims' Homes, Police Say

Arturo Galvan (Photo courtesy of Fullerton Police Department)
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

A man accused of stealing underwear and other personal items from many female college students used photos posted to Facebook and Instagram to locate the homes of his victims, police say.Arturo Galvan, 44, is believed to have used GPS data embedded in social media posts to track the location of his victims' homes in order to allegedly break in and steal their underwear, electronics and more, often while they slept close by, reports the L.A. Times. Police say Galvan would hang out in public areas around Fullerton and Orange and search for social media posts where people had "checked in" with their location. He apparently would then look through their other posts on Instagram or Facebook to use the GPS data attached to some images to map the location of their homes.

Fullerton police say that Galvan targeted at least 24 victims, many of them female Cal State Fullerton students living in off-campus apartments, reports the OC Register. He's also suspected of burglarizing homes in surrounding counties and around Chapman University in Orange. In addition to stealing women’s bras and underwear—both clean and straight from the laundry basket—police say he also occasionally took underwear from male roommates, as well as TVs, iPads, jewelry, DVDs and more. While some victims were home at the time of the break-ins, no injuries have been reported.

Following reports of a suspected burglary in Fullerton last Thursday night, Galvan was finally caught after a three-hour search by Fullerton and Anaheim police when he was spotted crossing through a backyard, according to the Register. He was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property, peeping and prowling and resisting arrest. Police found the stolen underwear in a garage next to Galvan's house in Menifee, as well as electronics and other items piled in his home.

Asked what his motive might have been, Fullerton Police Sgt. Kathryn Hamel told the Times, "I wish I knew." She told the Register, though, "There was a sexual undertone." Hamel added that people should be aware of—and turn off in some cases—the location settings on their phone to help protect privacy.

Support for LAist comes from

Galvan is married and the father of three preteen daughters, according to the Register. He was released from Orange County jail on Saturday on $200,000 bail.