Lawyer exposes 'unlawful' homeless belongings dumping using AirTags

Find My Precision Finding Airtag Hero
Find My Precision Finding Airtag Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • A Portland lawyer has used AirTags to expose the unlawful dumping of items belonging to homeless people.
  • Michael Fuller attached AirTags to 16 different items belonging to campers ahead of a city cleanup.
  • He says the AirTags prove that goods were unlawfully taken to a waste facility illegally.

A Portland lawyer might have found one of the most extraordinary uses for Apple's AirTags yet, after using them to expose the unlawful dumping of items that belonged to homeless people in the city.

As reported by Portland Tribune, Michael Fuller used AirTags attached to 16 different items (with permission) belonging to homeless campers in Portland, ahead of a clean-up by a city contractor of a clearing of tents in Laurelhurst park.

Fuller says that tracking information from the AirTags show that some of these items were taken to a waste facility illegally, in contravention of Oregon law which states that the city must collect and retain any property that's "recognizable as belonging to a person and that has apparent use" to be stored for 30 days. From the report:

Under Oregon law, Portland is required to collect and retain all property that is "recognizable as belonging to a person and that has apparent use" when cleaning up homeless encampments, according to OPB. The confiscated material is stored in a warehouse for 30 days, unless such items are unsanitary or have no obvious use.Fuller says the items were clean and useful. If the city can't offer an explanation for the apparently trashed possessions, he says his clients will seek monetary compensation for their losses.

Fuller said that thanks to AirTags he has "proof positive that Rapid Response broke the law and took property that was perfectly clean and sanitary, and belonged to homeless people, and took them to the dump."

Fuller said that he hoped his actions would convince the city to stop sweeping homeless camps and that he would continue with his fight for as long as the sweeps continue.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

3 Comments
  • I'm pretty sure that air tags placed by a civilian in garbage on public property is not going to meet the stringent chain of custody policies that courts demand.
  • Man. This is what’s wrong with cities like this…. And the mentality that has driven those cities to be actual dumpsters. What about the crimes those people are committing on those streets ? Oh that’s right. Humanity and empathy and all that right. Meanwhile when I leave my hotel room to go to the office I have to literally breathe in crap and pee and step over it as I walk.
  • Oh brother....Self-centered, arrogant comments such as these are too common these days. It's the same mentality that drives the unvaccinated to prolong the pandemic and increase the suffering because their selfish view of individual rights lack the requisite balance of social responsibilities.