Another thief gets his comeuppence with an “app”

2013-08-07 00:00

WOULD-BE burglars should be more discerning — and read The Witness — if they wish to remain beyond the clutches of the law.

This became abundantly clear early yesterday when a thief was arrested in Sweetwaters after he had stolen an iPad from the home of Sharon and John Bishop in Boughton hours earlier.

For the second time in days, the thief was apprehended after he was tracked with the booty.

After discovering the loss of her mobile device shortly after midnight, Sharon Bishop, a former chief photographer at The Witness, recalled a newspaper report a few days earlier when a Howick man, Craig Pickering, had tracked his iPad after installing a Find My iPhone application.

After realising her iPad was now in the hands of a thief, she activated the tracking application on the iPad from her laptop and found that her mobile device was on the Boughton railway line.

“I didn’t know it would work. The iPad comes with the application on it, so I found the program on the Internet and put in my e-mail address and Apple ID password. That’s how it knows to pick up that particular iPad,” said Sharon.

Minutes later four policemen and two policewomen joined the Bishops in the kitchen, crowding around the laptop as they watched the iPad’s progress through the heavily-forested area behind Linpark school, up into Winterskloof and, finally, Sweetwaters.

The chase finally ended when the green dot of the iPad emerged in Dennis Shepstone Drive after a four-hour trek through the plantations.

The progress of the thief and his accomplice was slowed by a 40-inch flat screen television that they had also picked up en route, but their movements were closely and constantly monitored in the crowded Boughton kitchen.

The police, boosted by further reinforcements and the K9 unit, descended on a Sweetwaters property and there they found the technophobic intruder cowering in the bushes.

“The police phoned me and asked me to push the sound button on my laptop in Boughton to make the iPad play a sound. After 10 minutes they called me back and told me to stop playing the sound because they had found it,” she said.

Sharon, a photography teacher, was delighted her iPad — which contained her many images — had been recovered. Her mobile device has now been temporarily detained for evidence purposes and she has opened a case of theft.

“I could not let all that police work go to waste. We were embarrassed that so much was being done to recover a single iPad, but we believe that our intruder was part of a larger gang so the effort was worthwhile … Many thanks to the Prestbury police who were just amazing. They could not have been more helpful,” she added.

Meanwhile, a bewildered thief was left to wonder how he was tracked down so quickly and effectively.

Police were asked to comment but had not responded by the time of going to press.

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