iPhone tracker leads police to suspected thief

2012-01-14 00:00

A SUSPECTED thief’s ignorance about an iPhone and its applications has led to his arrest.

While he was using Sean Dunn’s iPhone, Dunn could determine his location via the Internet and a GPS application on the phone.

Equipped with an iPad displaying a map on which the phone’s movements could be tracked, Dunn guided police straight to a property in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, where the thief was arrested.

Dunn was working out in a Pretoria gym this week when his iPhone was stolen.

He searched the gym for his phone, and when he couldn’t find it, he had it blocked and blacklisted.

“[In the evening] my wife remarked that she saw I had gone jogging,” said Dunn.

“I make a lot of use of the apps on my phone. One is the Nike+GPS. It comes up automatically on my phone. The thief probably didn’t know what it was and pressed “yes”. What he didn’t know was that it would send a message to Facebook that I’ve gone jogging.”

Dunn’s phone also accesses Apple’s iCloud online storage, which includes a tracking system. So Dunn checked on the Internet to see if he could find his phone in that way.

The tracking system is accurate within a radius of two kilometres.

Dunn saw his phone, took a screen shot of the map, borrowed a friend’s iPad and went to the Garsfontein police station.

“The police were initially hesitant to believe me, until I showed them how it works,” said Dunn.

“Two policemen were prepared to go to Mamelodi, but I didn’t want to go along, because I didn’t want to risk my life for a phone. I didn’t know what to expect in Mamelodi.

“I made a print-out of the map and the two policemen went to Mamelodi. I kept in phone contact with them.”

The iPhone moved from one property to another one.

“While I was explaining to the two policemen where to go I was surrounded by other policemen who wanted to see how it works.

“The two policemen found the thief in the back of one of the properties and arrested him.”

Back at the police station Dunn identified his iPhone by describing the apps on it, and left for home with his phone shortly after midnight.

“The police were helpful and very friendly,” he said.

The suspected thief was a contract cleaner at the gym.

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