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UPDATED 28/07/17

Thieves raided a professional soccer player’s £5 million mansion after he posted to social media a picture of himself on a skiing holiday.

Back in February 2017, 36-year-old Ashton Villa defender and former Chelsea captain John Terry shared a picture of himself and with his wife Toni, 35, with his 3.4 million Instagram followers. The picture shows the couple standing on the slopes of a ski resort in the French alps. Terry included the caption “a great few days skiing with the family” with the image.

John Terry's Instagram post of his family's ski holiday
John Terry’s Instagram post of his family’s ski holiday. (Source: Instagram)

A duo of bad actors apparently saw the post and realized Terry’s £5 million mansion must be empty. Armed with axes, they went to the professional soccer player’s home at 10:30 pm on 25 February and stole approximately £400,000 worth of goods. The lifted items included £126,000 worth of luxury handbags and signed first edition Harry Potter books valued at £18,000.

As reported by Daily Mail, the crooks spent 45 minutes ransacking the mansion and collecting items from the Terry family. They then left before returning with a third individual at approximately 2:00 am to try to get into a safe. But according to Mirror, the thieves triggered a burglary alarm shortly before 3:00 am and fled the scene, leaving police to inspect the £19,000 worth of damages caused to the property.

Over the course of their investigation, law enforcement officers came across surveillance CCTV footage of the crooks. They used that evidence to track down Oliver Hart, 25; Joshua Sumer, 27; Roy Head, 28; and 30-year-old Darren Eastaug. All four individuals admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit seven burglaries at the Terry residence and other homes in the area between 1 February and 27 March. Meanwhile, a fifth man named Kye Hardy-King, 25, admitted one charge of handling stolen goods.

Hart, Sumer, Head, and Eastaug appeared before the Kingston Crown Court on 28 July. They received in total a prison sentence of 27 years and 11 months.

As this story shows, nefarious individuals have no qualms against using social media posts to abuse our absence, invade our privacy, and vandalize our homes and personal belongings. Users therefore need to be careful about what they submit on social media. That’s not to say they shouldn’t necessarily post pictures from vacation, but in the very least, they might want to wait until they get back from vacation to do so.

For more tips on how to securely navigate the world of social networking, click here.