Victims: Burglary suspect caught on tape after posing as client


by Karma Dickerson

Posted on September 18, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 19 at 12:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Police are looking for a man who victims say made an elaborate plan to case a downtown Louisville business before he robbed it.  The owners say they were able to catch the thief on camera.
Website Mentor, in the Starks Building on South 4th Street was broken into at about 4:30 Monday.  The business was closed but the Starks Building was open.  

About an hour before, the owners of Website Mentors welcomed what they thought was a new client.  They spent about 45 minutes developing a marketing plan for his new website and then left the office thinking it was a good day.

“We had shaken hands and we were happy because we thought we had gotten a $17,000 dollar contract”, Jacob Conway, co-owner of Website Mentor, said.

However at 9:30 p.m. Monday night they got a call from the building manager saying their office had been burglarized.  The owners believe they solved the mystery.

“I just got on the Internet and I was like ‘oh look, look who it was’,” says co-owner Justin Chelf.

Website Mentors has a motion activated camera that takes still pictures.  It photographed the man who pretended to be a client when he came in that afternoon. An hour later, it caught the suspected burglar.

“It was this guy that we had met at 3:30 that day”, Chelf said.

The photos show the suspect prying the glass from their front door, and leaving with a $4,500 laptop.

Shocked they had been deceived, the owners checked to see if anything the suspect told them earlier was true. The name the pretend client wrote on the contract was John Cornett.  The victims looked online and found a man with the same name and face was arrested two months ago for trying to steal iPads from Wal-Mart.

Over the last six years Cornett’s faced about 50 charges for theft, fraud, and forgery in Jefferson County, though most have been dropped.  His latest warrant was just on Monday for missing a court date, hours before the owners of Website Mentors say he walked into their business.

It’s still early in the police investigation and they have not named Cornett a suspect.  He's only been identified by the victims.