Stolen iPhone leads cops to thief

2012-01-13 10:38
Pretoria - A thief’s ignorance about an iPhone and its apps has led to his arrest.

While the thief was busy with the phone, its owner Sean Dunn could see on the internet where it was.

With an iPad and a map on which the phone’s movements could be tracked, Dunn, from Olympus in eastern Pretoria, led police to a property in Mamelodi.

Police spokesperson Captain Marissa van der Merwe confirmed that the thief would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Dunn’s iPhone was stolen while he was at the gym at about 13:00 on Tuesday.

Apps activated

He looked for his phone at the gym but couldn’t find it, so he blocked the phone and had it blacklisted.

“On Tuesday night my wife told me she saw I went jogging,” said Dunn.

“I use the apps a lot on my phone.

“One is the Nike+ GPS. This comes up automatically on my phone. The thief must not have known what it was and pressed ‘yes’.

"What he didn’t know was that it sent a message to Facebook that I was going jogging.”

Another app that Dunn had on his phone was iCloud, which had a tracking system. Dunn looked on the internet to see if he could find his phone.

The tracking system is accurate to within a radius of 2m.

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


“Police initially struggled to believe me until I showed them how it worked,” said Dunn.

“Two policemen were willing to go to Mamelodi but I didn’t want to go along as I didn’t want to risk my life for a phone.

“I printed the map and the two policemen went to Mamelodi. I remained in contact with them telephonically.”

The phone moved from one yard to another.

“While I told the two policemen where to go, I was surrounded by policemen who wanted to see how it worked.

“They found the thief at the back of one yard and arrested him.”

Shortly after midnight, he went home with his phone.

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

The alleged thief was a contracted cleaner at the gym.

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