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.

  • Hotkop - 2012-01-13 10:42

    Eish, da technology!

      chayne.webber - 2012-01-13 11:24

      Was it a jailbroken iPhone?

      rbczovczov - 2012-01-13 11:24

      iPhone 1 Blackberry 0

      clivecorbz - 2012-01-13 11:30

      It's nothing special to iphone. With my IMEI number, a private investigator was able to track my stolen Samsung E600... in 2004...

      cj - 2012-01-13 11:34

      wow!!! this is great

      danalexsmith - 2012-01-13 11:35


      Ian - 2012-01-13 11:42

      LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL technology 1 education 0

      rumbadaping - 2012-01-13 11:54

      blackberry has BB Protect on it. i can also track my phone and trigger off a loud siren sound even if it is on silent suck on that smelly iphone hipster :)

      Sean - 2012-01-13 12:21

      This technology is used across the world to catch the skeins, provided the police have a court order allowing them to do so. So be careful, don't become a skeleton!!! You will be caught no matter which telecommunication you use be it landline or cellular! Be assured though only a court order can allow the use of this technology! If anyone is caught snooping with any technology without a court order they will be prosecuted and sent to jail for a very long time cost this technology can catch them as well!

      clivecorbz - 2012-01-13 12:25

      12 thumbs down, okes seem angry that I got my phone back... Eish, sorry guys! :P

      Kala - 2012-01-13 12:37

      @clivecorbz - We just don't understand why you would want your Samsung phone back:)

      Geraldv - 2012-01-13 12:38

      @Sean, The owner was looking (snooping) at his own property. He does not need to have a court order to do that!! The thief was arrested by the cops in possesion of stollen goods. What's your problem!

      clivecorbz - 2012-01-13 12:43

      @Kala Lol :P

      Tyrone - 2012-01-13 12:50

      The only difference with iphone and blackberry and @clivecorbz ur samsung E600 is that he could track it himself and didnt need a PI or their network provider to do it for him. he could see in real time where his Iphone was and didnt have to wait weeks for someone to do it for him.

      clivecorbz - 2012-01-13 13:42

      @Tyrone I'm coming from the point of view that tracking phones is not new. So the story, in a nutshell, is that someone used a feature on their phone... I don't see this as news.

      Leon - 2012-01-13 14:40

      clive, as the saying goes: when a dog bites a man its not news, but when a man bites a dog it is news

      gendv - 2012-01-13 16:19

      @chayne.webber - iOS jailbreaking, or simply jailbreaking, is the process of removing the limitations imposed by Apple on devices running the iOS operating system through use of custom kernels. Such devices include the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and 2nd Gen Apple TV. Jailbreaking allows users to gain root access to the operating system, allowing iOS users to download additional applications, extensions, and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store. A jailbroken iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS can still use the App Store, iTunes, and other normal functions, such as making telephone calls. The term 'jailbreaking' has also been applied to other computer systems, such as the Sony Playstation 3. Jailbreaking is a form of privilege escalation. Unlike rooting an Android device, jailbreaking is necessary if the user intends to run software not authorized by Apple. A tethered jailbreak requires that the device be connected to a computer each time it needs to be booted; an untethered jailbreak allows the device to be powered without computer assistance. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, jailbreaking Apple devices is legal in the United States, although Apple has announced that the practice "can violate the warranty".[1]

      Hotkop - 2012-01-13 16:54

      Copy and paste an article on "what is jailbreaking" What does that have to do with anything?

  • Boris - 2012-01-13 10:43

    hau!! i cant understand how they found me, eish!

  • Nitro - 2012-01-13 10:47

    make an example and hang him!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave - 2012-01-13 10:57


      Hotkop - 2012-01-13 11:00

      lol! iFailed...

      Vernon - 2012-01-13 11:03


      Perfume - 2012-01-13 11:30


      roelofk - 2012-01-13 12:03


      Kala - 2012-01-13 13:26

      iDiot - 2012-01-13 13:31


      Piet - 2012-01-13 18:27

      Eish tha mapoisa they used tha witchcraft and the Thokolosh to chats me. Juliaaas you must help, it is RACIST!!!

      Odicito - 2012-01-13 18:40


      Odicito - 2012-01-13 18:42

      This is hilarious, Im in tears...been a while since I laughed so hard :):)

      Squeegee - 2012-01-13 18:48


  • frans.grobler3 - 2012-01-13 11:03

    Hey dude why did you not press the "BANG" nob, that should look cool on the screen.

  • eon.malherbe - 2012-01-13 11:05

    Same thing happened to me! Found my iPad and MacBook this way after it was stolen. Guy got 6 months just Wednesday.

      Sean - 2012-01-13 12:24

      sorry, typing too fast, meant to type skelms!

      Sean - 2012-01-13 12:26

      This is because your Mac had a sim card in it! Eon.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-14 07:18

      Mac don't need sim cards to be found, all they need it a WIfi Network

  • branden.hart - 2012-01-13 11:09

    And the police have no clue about technology - Usual and Scary. Maybe R500million can buy some education instead of renting a building.

      Xhanti - 2012-01-13 11:17

      I think now you're out of line... Seriously...

      davieoosie - 2012-01-13 11:33

      The police don't know about this technology? They should be the first to know and use it as a tool in their investigations. We are suppose to go forward, not backwards, forward!

      Schmee - 2012-01-13 11:40

      I don't think he is out of line. He makes a valid point. The police at this station had their eyes opened, but the average policeman does not get exposed to technology enough.

      allison.steedman - 2012-01-13 13:41

      @Sean you only need a court order if you are asking the police or a private detective to trace the owner of a phone who is stalking you or sending unwanted messages etc. There is nothing to stop you using the technology to trace your own possessions. It is the same with email messages - in order to get an ISP to release the name of someone who is sending threatning, stalking emails you need a court order.

      Sean - 2012-01-13 14:16

      @Smarter, now you are getting the message! If I say anymore I am in big trouble!

      Sean - 2012-01-13 20:40

      @Smarter - the policeman behind the counter will not understand the technology because he is not from the specialized department that deals with such cases - Before the cell provider will give out the location information to the police they will require a signed waiver from you and probably a subpoena from the police.

      Richard Mwelwa - 2013-05-29 12:22

      @sean you dont need specialised unit or service provider to give you the locatoin of your property,get it man!

  • Vernon - 2012-01-13 11:11

    My whole bag got stolen at the gym a few years back, JUSTICE is sweet, congrats man :)

      Johann - 2012-01-13 17:09

      Some body walked off with my towel and toiletries bag at the Meyersdal Virgin active gym, it's not the money , just leave other peoples possessions alone, dammit!

      Odicito - 2012-01-13 18:44

      Johann, you need iBag.

  • Jaybee - 2012-01-13 11:12

    give him 25 yrs in jail before he upgrade his skills

  • nonceba.motsisi - 2012-01-13 11:16

    Thats technology for u hey.

  • Michelle - 2012-01-13 11:20

    Hahaha, that's classic! What a dumb-ass...

  • Siphiwe Nxumalo - 2012-01-13 11:20

    Thanks to technology and Blackberry can do the same

      Willem - 2012-01-13 11:49

      Yup. Blackberry Protect helped me retrieve my daughters Blackberry that was stolen.

  • vanetia.mentor - 2012-01-13 11:23

    iTech 1-0 iThief... Dont mess with a man and his app filled ipad.glad u had fun trackn yr phone down..

  • Hangwani - 2012-01-13 11:30

    Loving technology....Guys you can do a Google Latitude, it locates your location via your phone.

  • Perfume - 2012-01-13 11:30

    I am going to get myself an iPhone - good advertisement I must say :) glad he got it back.

  • quentin.horn1 - 2012-01-13 11:31

    Nice one Seanie, wish I kept my Location Services on, when mine was stolen!

  • lerato.selane - 2012-01-13 11:37

    Two of my friends found their iPhones this way. I have the service activated on my iPhone and iPad and it works like a charm :-)

  • ofentse.ramorula - 2012-01-13 11:40

    I use an iphone bought my wife one as well so that I can be able to track her when the need arises, such as when she might get hijacked. Or she goes on unauthorised movements if you know what I mean. It works like a dream.

  • Davis - 2012-01-13 11:43

    my iphone also got stolen. but i didnt black list it .. can it be traced?

      lerato.selane - 2012-01-13 13:04

      Only if you had the app "Find my iPhone" activated

      Richard Mwelwa - 2013-05-29 12:29

      The app 'find my iphone' has flops if the phone is stolen by an ithief. Because the thief can disable the app off.

  • Ari - 2012-01-13 11:58

    Pity that you are not able to instruct the phone to deliver 500 decibel sound when the thief holds it to his ear - it would blow his eardrum out of the other ear.

      myfriendshane - 2012-01-13 12:30

      That is possible, within the capabilities of the speaker. You can possibly find a frequency, rather than a volume to achieve this.

  • Peter - 2012-01-13 12:03

    My daughter had her iphone, "find my iphone" app not loaded, stolen. When I asked the police if they could trace it using the imei number they said they only do this in the case of a serious crime, murder or rape, and a court order is needed. Why do we bother to Rica our number if it cannot assist us.

  • Jimmy - 2012-01-13 12:05

    “Police initially struggled to believe me until I showed them how it worked,” said Dunn , eish this foreign technology she is a strange thing

  • Bob - 2012-01-13 12:08

    The police don't want fellow officers to know about this technology....! After victims are seriously injured or killed in a car accident the victims, wallet, jewelry and cell phone often disappear....Who do you think is taking these items? Unlikely the paramedics!

  • marlenepilay - 2012-01-13 12:13

    Am a Nokia owner and my N9 has rack and protect that will recover my handset

  • Andrew - 2012-01-13 12:13

    I think with so much in this world of technology we can achieve a fighting our,businesses,personal,s amazing how easy we can be safe..through technology....even with drinking and driving we can produce cars where you,ll be required to blow before the car start,we just need to be innovative enough.....what do you think.?

  • Sean - 2012-01-13 12:13

    Android app called "Gotya " does the same, download it onto your Samsung pad and you will be amazed with what it is capable of! I've caught people trying to log onto my pad and their face pics were taken with the front camera and all the details, pick lats and longs as well as overlay on Google maps with excellant accuracy on where the pad is. You can also control the device via the internet with all sorts of actions, listening in, blocking the device, following and catching the perpatrator etc. But you have to purchase the product for full capabilities, but it only costs about R30 or so, very much worth it!!!

  • AmosMoledi - 2012-01-13 12:17

    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??? This can't be true Mr Editor. Find my iPhone not iCloud

      lerato.selane - 2012-01-13 13:09

      Find my iPhone uses the iCloud technology to make it possible

  • Deon - 2012-01-13 12:20

    Stupid thief! I wish the justice system could get more strick. If you steal a phone or R1 000 000 rands, send them away for 10 years or more. 6 months is not enough.

  • Prudence Pelembe - 2012-01-13 12:21

    Another reason why I love my iPhone

  • myfriendshane - 2012-01-13 12:29

    I am a mobile phone software developer and a specialist in this type of work. I have offered my services to the police and they really don't seem to be interested. I even volunteered to work unpaid and they just did not seem to grasp how much info I can get from a stolen phone and how valuable that info is. If there is any SAPF brass reading this and they want to have a chat, get hold of me.

  • krispot - 2012-01-13 12:41

    I like how you can blacklist your phone and it still works on the SA networks. Whats the point in blacklisting the phone in the first place

  • Freddie Smit - 2012-01-13 12:45

    They don't have a job, they steal, they have a job and still they steal.

      Percy - 2012-01-13 13:30

      why do you say They? Only one person was arrested in this case. I smell a rat (are you refering to any group in particular?).

      Marie Antoinette Voges - 2012-01-13 14:39

      Thievery are in the blood of some...they always think they can get away with it...not so easy with new technology on internet...that is if you know how to make use of it!,otherwise even that is useless to u.

      Anele - 2012-01-13 14:57

      You sound like a racist, twat!!!Whose they?

      Freddie Smit - 2012-01-13 23:09

      Jeez Anele, thats harsh calling me a racist twat, what I mean, millions out there looking for a job, will do any job to put food on the table, this one, has a job, but still he goes on a steal. Obviously your thinking is very narrow minded and it seems you only have racism on the brain.

  • darren.schyff - 2012-01-13 12:49

    @clivecorbz - This is slightly different bud, this is an app called Find my iPhone and has absolutelt nothing to do IMEI numbers or PI's. If my iphone is stolen I can simply open the app on my iPad and find the phones exact location!

  • Azande - 2012-01-13 13:16

    i phones are the best

  • Percy - 2012-01-13 13:17

    So long as the phone has an EMEI number (active phone)it can be easily traced. Most of the high profile cases are cracked because of stupidity of criminals using stolen cellphones.The thing is that, theft of cellphones is very high (in SA) therefore case priority is considered. Emagine our detectives TRACING all the stolen cells!The service providers will not cope and REMEMBER a court application is required before the search.

      Sharon Dreyer - 2012-01-15 11:01

      That is done with triangulating a cell phones location between 3 closest cell phone towers so is not a 100% accurate. The other is satellite which is way too expensive to do to track a small time criminal or stolen phone. The method this article is referring too is another matter totally. You can use an app called 'Find iPhone' (there are a few different apps for different OS) which in this case you use iCloud and your own specific username and password to locate your phone over the air via GPS tracking. But as far as I know it can locate it with an active Internet connection.

  • sean.looney - 2012-01-13 13:37

    the app is called itracker and i have it too. my friend had his phone stolen and was able to trace the location too. the moral of the story? its not a good idea to be stealing iphones!

  • clintisco - 2012-01-13 13:54

    Get android lost app for android phones. You can copy (or download) all your phone data if it's stolen, type a message for the thief or make a loud alarm go off. You can also locate your phone and wipe all your info off and block it for use....Great app

  • Sean - 2012-01-13 13:55

    What I am saying to all of you who are thumbs-downing me - this technology can also be used to spy - that is a criminal offence! Keep that in mind!

      Hotkop - 2012-01-13 16:57

      No, it's not.

      Richard Mwelwa - 2013-05-29 12:44

      Who can spy you! cause you login yourself to locate your device. Maybe you need more info how this works, pls contact me.

  • Sean - 2012-01-13 14:14

    Guys this technology is used to catch criminals, it has nothing to do with finding your own phone, that is a different matter altogether!

      Hotkop - 2012-01-13 16:57

      No, it's not.

      Richard Mwelwa - 2013-05-29 12:46

      Not true you can also use it to find a misplaced iphone.

  • Sean - 2012-01-13 14:22

    Imagine your spouse tracking your whereabouts if suspected of doing something? Ever thought about that?

      Hotkop - 2012-01-13 16:57

      No, we did not.

  • Windlass - 2012-01-13 14:26

    One up for Steve J

  • Laurie Grobler - 2012-01-13 15:47

    Go iPhone sent from my iPhone !!!!!!

  • gendv - 2012-01-13 16:12

    hahaha! Gotta love technology! And well done Mr Dunn for knowing his phone and capabilities :-)

  • Kofits - 2012-01-13 18:15

    thanks to technology

  • Piet - 2012-01-13 18:26

    Eish tha mapoisa they used tha witchcraft and the Thokolosh to chats me. Juliaaas you must help, it is RACIST!!!

  • Matthew Du Toit - 2012-01-13 19:13

    I have blackberry protect on my phone and I was so shocked when I checked on website to tell me where's my phone is. While my phone is in my work. And I checked on internet and it tells me where is my phone is! Perfect app for Blackberry

  • gregory.forbes - 2012-01-13 22:33

    Sheer brilliance! And well done for educating the Cops, and well done to the Cops for using the technology to apprehend the criminal. Here's is hoping it holds up in court.

  • Sue - 2012-01-14 06:40

    Now that's a familiar story. Same happened to my husband, stolen iPhone same aps as Dunn, but the cops were not in the least interested in trying to recover his phone. Lazy and too scared to go into Hillbrow where he allocated the phone??

  • Warren - 2012-01-14 12:25

    This is a good one, I salute I-Phone apps.

  • Sibusiso Shane Mavimbela - 2012-01-14 23:40

    Moral of the story. Don't mess with Steve Jobs!