Fitbits are becoming increasingly popular, but as one man recently found out, it can be used for more than just tracking physical fitness.
Richard Dabate was charged with felony murder, tampering with physical evidence and making false statements, in relation to his wife Connie Dabate’s murder in December 2015.
Dabate told detectives that he came home between 8:45 and 9 a.m. because he forgot his laptop. He was met with an intruder who tied him up. His wife, who was at spin class, came home and he yelled for her to run. According to Dabate there was a struggle, then the intruder shot his wife.
After the intruder left, Dabate went upstairs while still attached to the chair and hit the panic button on his home alarm, notifying the police.
While Dabate had a pretty elaborate story, identifying the intruder as a stocky man with a Vin Diesel voice, his wife’s Fitbit told another story.
Her Fitbit shows her activity at spin class, then about 8 minutes inactivity due to the drive home. Then it registers movement again at 9:18, around the same time the garage door opens.
Her Fitbit then records her taking 1,217 steps within her home before 10:05, when all activity stops.
Detectives say that going by what her husband claims, the walk from her car to where the murder took place would be about 125 steps.
This coupled with the email to his boss, from the home wi-fi, stating that the alarm was going off and he needed to go back to check it, and his wife posting to Facebook also on the home wi-fi; technology led detectives to charge her husband with the murder.
“To say it is rare to use Fitbit records would be safe. It is an electronic footprint that tracks your movements,” said the local district attorney Craig Stedman. “It is a great tool for investigators to use. We can also get the information much faster than some other types of evidence such as DNA tests.”
Detectives believe Dabate’s motive is a combination of text messages that point to his wife wanting a divorce, and him having a pregnant mistress.
He is currently out on bail and will return to court on Friday, April 28th.