Buildzoom(SAN FRANCISCO) — After a start-up company in San Francisco was burglarized several times this year, the co-founder took matters into his own hands and turned to an unlikely source to solve the crimes — the popular dating app Tinder.

David Petersen, co-founder of 3-year-old BuildZoom, which helps people hire remodeling contractors, created a dating profile of one of the suspected thieves using a surveillance photo. He advertised a $5,000 reward. The profile stated, “I rob offices in SF.”

Petersen said the idea has worked. He received emails from people with the name of the alleged female thief and her photo.

“Part of the reason I did this entire investigation myself is just because the San Francisco police wouldn’t do anything about it, so we will see where it goes,” he told ABC News on Wednesday, noting that his company filed police reports on March 21 and again on July 3.

BuildZoom’s building was looted of about 15 MacBook Pros worth about $2,000 each, seven tablets and a few other things, Petersen said.

“I’m 100 percent that it’s her,” he told ABC News.

Petersen even blogged about the thefts on the company website, including surveillance video and photos from the thefts around July.

He has told the police officer investigating his case about the Tinder leads, but the officer has yet to respond, Petersen said.

“But the photo and name I got of this girl matches exactly, including a hairband, hairline, hair color, nose, etc.” Petersen said. “And she was arrested a block from my office stealing a bike — I have the shot of her in cuffs — but the police never made the connection.”

A spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department said police don’t have anyone in custody at this time and it’s an open and active investigation. When asked about BuildZoom’s efforts in using surveillance photos of the suspect on Tinder, the spokeswoman said the police welcomes efforts to assist spreading information.

“We investigate every incident thoroughly,” she said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The new deal strengthening U.S.-Cuba relations now means you can bring back long-forbidden cigars with you — but there’s a catch.

Americans who gain official approval to travel to Cuba will be the only ones able to bring back up to $400 in goods from their trip and no more than a quarter of that can be made up of alcohol or tobacco products combined.

If the protocols are adhered to, the hand-rolled Havanas won’t be making an appearance in American smoke shops any time soon.

Americans’ love of cigars runs decades back, as historical lore claims that President John F. Kennedy ordered an aide to get as many Cuban cigars as they could in the hours before he announced the embargo in 1962.

The potential influx of Cuban cigars are just one of the ways that President Obama’s announced plans change the way Americans will be able to interact with the long-banned country.

The changes come as a result of Cuba releasing Alan Gross Wednesday morning, a deal that had been in the works for some time.

There are 12 different types of licenses that will be available for individuals to travel to Cuba, ranging from diplomatic missions to trips on behalf of charities, education groups and public art performers, according to the White House.

The White House explained the expansion as a way to improve the economic conditions of the Cuban people.

“The policy changes make it easier for Americans to provide business training for private Cuban businesses and small farmers and provide other support for the growth of Cuba’s nascent private sector,” Obama said.

Obama also said that it is “clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba. Though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect — today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party.”

He concluded, “Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas. We are choosing to cut loose the anchor of the past, because it is entirely necessary to reach a better future — for our national interests, for the American people, and for the Cuban people.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The new deal strengthening U.S.-Cuba relations now means you can bring back long-forbidden cigars with you — but there’s a catch.

Americans who gain official approval to travel to Cuba will be the only ones able to bring back up to $400 in goods from their trip and no more than a quarter of that can be made up of alcohol or tobacco products combined.

If the protocols are adhered to, the hand-rolled Havanas won’t be making an appearance in American smoke shops any time soon.

Americans’ love of cigars runs decades back, as historical lore claims that President John F. Kennedy ordered an aide to get as many Cuban cigars as they could in the hours before he announced the embargo in 1962.

The potential influx of Cuban cigars are just one of the ways that President Obama’s announced plans change the way Americans will be able to interact with the long-banned country.

The changes come as a result of Cuba releasing Alan Gross Wednesday morning, a deal that had been in the works for some time.

There are 12 different types of licenses that will be available for individuals to travel to Cuba, ranging from diplomatic missions to trips on behalf of charities, education groups and public art performers, according to the White House.

The White House explained the expansion as a way to improve the economic conditions of the Cuban people.

“The policy changes make it easier for Americans to provide business training for private Cuban businesses and small farmers and provide other support for the growth of Cuba’s nascent private sector,” Obama said.

Obama also said that it is “clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba. Though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect — today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party.”

He concluded, “Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas. We are choosing to cut loose the anchor of the past, because it is entirely necessary to reach a better future — for our national interests, for the American people, and for the Cuban people.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Jemal Countess/Getty Images)(LOS ANGELES) — Zak Williams says he is still grieving over the death of his iconic father, Robin Williams, earlier this summer.

“I miss him all the time,” he told People magazine. “Often I see something or if I’m watching a film, I think, ‘Oh, man, he would have appreciated this’ or, ‘He would have gotten a laugh out of this.’ “

Williams died of an apparent suicide from asphyxia at age 63 in early August.

Zak Williams, 31, along with his sister, Zelda, 25, and his brother, Cody, 23, have been open about their grief since their dad’s death.

“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think about our dad,” Williams told the magazine, adding that by helping others, he’s now begun to heal.

At the time of his death, the actor’s rep released a statement to ABC News, saying, “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss.”

Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, later revealed he was also in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The “Internet of Things” — the name for the ecosystem of smart devices that can communicate with owners — are hot holiday gifts this year, but they’re also prime targets for hackers.

There’s a lot to love about a light bulb that can warn you when it needs to be changed, a thermostat that can be controlled from anywhere or a speaker that can listen to your commands.

Here’s the bad news: An estimated 70 percent of “Internet of Things” items contain major vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers, according to a report released in July by Hewlett Packard’s Fortify on Demand.

Before plugging in any connected item, Robert Siciliano, a McAfee identity theft expert, said users need to make sure their main devices are secure.

That means updated anti-virus and anti-phishing software, running a sweep using spyware and making sure the device has all of the latest patches and updates.

It’s key the main device has a clean bill of health before a new peripheral device is plugged in, according to Siciliano.

“These devices could all be infected already out of the box,” he said.

Once the devices are plugged in, Siciliano recommends conducting an anti-virus scan to see if there are any issues.

Another pro tip: When using a wireless connection, make sure it’s secure.

“If you’re functioning in a wireless environment that isn’t properly protected then bad guys can get in through the actual device you just connected,” Siciliano said.

Perhaps one of the most alarming examples of this from 2014 was a Russian website that posted live streams of unsecured web cams in more than 100 countries online for anyone to watch.

The site showed everything from babies sleeping and people relaxing in their living rooms to home exteriors and closed circuit cameras in businesses.

The biggest lesson here: Never use the default user name and password for a device.

“Any external peripheral that you have the ability to change the default password, do so,” Siciliano said.

He also advises consumers to register their devices with the manufacturer and to hold onto the box for at least three to six months in case their are any issues.

It’s expected the “Internet of Things” will swell to as many as 26 billion devices by 2020, according to a forecast by Gartner, a technology research firm, making it more important than ever for users to be smart about their security.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(ROME) — Pope Francis has been known to take a more modern approach to the papacy and his supporters kept in step with his 78th birthday celebration.

In homage to his Argentinian roots, a flash mob of tango dancers showed their moves during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican Wednesday.

Pope Francis was pictured smiling at the revelry and later blew out the candles on a cake presented to him from the audience.

In keeping with his emphasis on doing good and helping the less fortunate, he also received a gift of 800 kilograms of chicken meat for the poor.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(ROME) — Pope Francis has been known to take a more modern approach to the papacy and his supporters kept in step with his 78th birthday celebration.

In homage to his Argentinian roots, a flash mob of tango dancers showed their moves during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican Wednesday.

Pope Francis was pictured smiling at the revelry and later blew out the candles on a cake presented to him from the audience.

In keeping with his emphasis on doing good and helping the less fortunate, he also received a gift of 800 kilograms of chicken meat for the poor.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Robert Giroux/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The release of Alan Gross, the American contractor imprisoned in Cuba for more than five years, “set a price on the head of every American abroad,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in an interview Wednesday.

“I would love for there to be normal relations with Cuba, but for that to happen, Cuba has to be normal, and it’s not. It is a brutal dictatorship,” Rubio, who is a Cuban-American, told ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny. “Now dictatorships know that if they take an American, they may be able to get unilateral policy concessions.”

According to Rubio, the Obama administration’s intention to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba is “terrible for the Cuban people.”

The Cuban government won’t allow free elections, political parties, freedom of the press “just because people can buy Coca Cola,” said the Florida Republican, who is often mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. He added, “Five years from now, Cuba will still be a dictatorship — but a much more profitable one.”

“I think this has now made it even harder to achieve the sort of democracy in Cuba that you find virtually everywhere else in this hemisphere,” Rubio said.

Rubio called President Obama the “worst negotiator” of “my lifetime.”

“He’ll give up everything in exchange for nothing,” Rubio said. “What have the Cubans agreed to do?”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Robert Giroux/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The release of Alan Gross, the American contractor imprisoned in Cuba for more than five years, “set a price on the head of every American abroad,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in an interview Wednesday.

“I would love for there to be normal relations with Cuba, but for that to happen, Cuba has to be normal, and it’s not. It is a brutal dictatorship,” Rubio, who is a Cuban-American, told ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny. “Now dictatorships know that if they take an American, they may be able to get unilateral policy concessions.”

According to Rubio, the Obama administration’s intention to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba is “terrible for the Cuban people.”

The Cuban government won’t allow free elections, political parties, freedom of the press “just because people can buy Coca Cola,” said the Florida Republican, who is often mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. He added, “Five years from now, Cuba will still be a dictatorship — but a much more profitable one.”

“I think this has now made it even harder to achieve the sort of democracy in Cuba that you find virtually everywhere else in this hemisphere,” Rubio said.

Rubio called President Obama the “worst negotiator” of “my lifetime.”

“He’ll give up everything in exchange for nothing,” Rubio said. “What have the Cubans agreed to do?”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Robert Giroux/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The release of Alan Gross, the American contractor imprisoned in Cuba for more than five years, “set a price on the head of every American abroad,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in an interview Wednesday.

“I would love for there to be normal relations with Cuba, but for that to happen, Cuba has to be normal, and it’s not. It is a brutal dictatorship,” Rubio, who is a Cuban-American, told ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny. “Now dictatorships know that if they take an American, they may be able to get unilateral policy concessions.”

According to Rubio, the Obama administration’s intention to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba is “terrible for the Cuban people.”

The Cuban government won’t allow free elections, political parties, freedom of the press “just because people can buy Coca Cola,” said the Florida Republican, who is often mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. He added, “Five years from now, Cuba will still be a dictatorship — but a much more profitable one.”

“I think this has now made it even harder to achieve the sort of democracy in Cuba that you find virtually everywhere else in this hemisphere,” Rubio said.

Rubio called President Obama the “worst negotiator” of “my lifetime.”

“He’ll give up everything in exchange for nothing,” Rubio said. “What have the Cubans agreed to do?”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →