Video surveillance, proper documentation and good detective work by the Cullman Police Department all combined this week to apprehend a suspect in an alleged burglary.

Joseph Kevin Potchen, 26, of Cullman was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with receiving stolen property third and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Potchen was arrested in relation to the Dec. 18 breaking and entering of a motor vehicle on Saundra Circle in Cullman. The victim reported an Apple iPod with head phones, a Nokia cell phone and a purse with assorted credits card were stolen.

Upon investigating the incident, Lt. John White discovered video surveillance from a local bank showing the suspect's vehicle during the time when an attempt was made to use one of the victim's credit cards.

White and Sgt. Craig Montgomery spotted that vehicle parked at a residence on Eva Road. Stopping at the residence, they asked who was driving the car at the time of the burglary and identified Potchen as the suspect.

White, Montgomery and Capt. Max Bartlett were able to identify specific characteristics of the vehicle that matched those in the video of the suspect vehicle.

Bartlett said Potchen was asked to empty his pockets, at which point an iPod with the same serial number as the one reported stolen was discovered. Potchen later admitted to attempting to use one of the victim's credit cards, Bartlett said.

Bartlett commended the investigators for their alertness and the victim for document their property.

"This case is a prime example of how important it is to record the serial numbers on a person's personal property," Bartlett said. "Without the serial number it would have been difficult for officers to have made an arrest in this case. I recommend that persons record serial numbers on household goods, electronics, firearms or any other property they own and keep it in a safe place in case of a theft."

Personal property that does not have a factory serial number can be inscribed with a drivers license number, he said.

"That way, when inspecting suspect stolen property, any officer that sees the inscribed drivers license would be able to identify the legitimate owner.

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