Victim’s FitBit Data Plays Part In Husband’s Arrest For Her Murder

A murdered Connecticut woman may not be able to point out the person who killed her, but police say data obtained from her FitBit fitness tracker helped lead to the arrest of her husband.

According to an arrest report [PDF] obtained by the Hartford Courant, in Dec. 2015, the suspect’s husband said he received a notification on his phone that their home’s security system alarm had gone off shortly after he left for work, so he returned home at 9 a.m.

He claims that when he got home he heard a noise upstairs, went to check it out, and found a tall, large man looking through a closet. As they fought, he says he heard his wife return home. The intruder incapacitated him, chased down his wife, and shot her, he told police. He claims he was able to escape by burning the man’s face with a torch he had been using to burn him with, and then managed to crawl upstairs and call 9-1-1.

Though he told police his wife was killed shortly after 9 a.m., cops say her FitBit tracker tells another story: Data from the device shows that her last movements inside the home were at 10:05, an hour after her husband told detectives she’d been murdered. She was wearing the tracker because she had gone to a fitness class at her gym. Surveillance footage supported the FitBit data, showing her leaving the gym around 9:18 a.m. and making a phone call.

More than a year after her murder, investigators used those FitBit records — along with other evidence culled from text messages, emails, and social media accounts — to charge the man with felony murder, tampering with physical evidence and making false statements following his wife’s death.

As we continue to buy products that keep us tied to the internet wherever we go, law enforcement official have started trying to use those connected devices in criminal cases: In March, Amazon agreed to turn over information stored on an Echo speaker located inside a murder suspect’s home. The e-commerce giant had balked at the request initially, claiming that the information on the device is protected by the First Amendment, but gave up the ghost after the defendant in the murder case consented to the disclosure of any such recordings made by the smart speaker.

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Deserted Malls Find New Use As Retail Call Centers

In order to keep bringing in the cash amid store closings, some malls have gotten a bit creative with their thousands of square feet of space, from leasing to doctor’s offices and supermarkets to using empty space as party venues. Some retailers are filling these empty mall spaces, but with call centers, not merchandise.

The Wall Street Journal reports that landlords have begun to focus on non-traditional aspects of retail including customer support call centers and warehouses for online retailers.

For example, the West Oaks Mall in Orlando is prepping a 75,000 square foot space for a Bed Bath & Beyond call center.

The call center is just one element of the 1.1 million square foot mall’s new identity as a mixed-use office and retail building. The landlords already leased 145,000 square feet to Conduent Inc., for a back-office customer service center that processes toll transactions for the Florida Department of Transportation, the WSJ reports.

While changing out space where retailers once peddled clothing, accessories, and home goods for other retailers’ behind the scenes business might seem like an odd avenue for landlords, it offers them a guaranteed rent check.

“Is it better for me to find 20 3,000 square-foot tenants or is it better to find one tenant to take the whole space that would pay more money?” Steven Maksin, CEO of Moonbeam Capital, the owner of several malls, tells the WSJ. “Retailers are not earning as much as before.”