Police officer uses his own iPhone to locate thief and retrieve a stolen iPhone

A Police officer in New York used his own iPhone to catch a thief and retrieve a victim’s iPhone after she was robbed in a handbag store on Thursday night. A man walked into the store brandishing a black handgun and took the woman’s iPhone.

After a fruitless canvass of the area, one officer, Robert Garland, tried another tack. Using the 24-year-old victim’s iTunes account information and the iCloud feature on his own phone, Mr. Garland was able to track the victim’s iPhone. Officers then followed the cyber-scent to the area near 49th Street and Eighth Avenue. As they searched the area, the suspect, who the police said had placed the phone in his boot, walked past the officers. The victim’s phone began to beep. And, soon, the suspect was placed under arrest.

There have been many other reported cases of iPhones being recovered in this way however you do need to use a bit of caution before reprimanding a suspect. Best off leaving it to the police, especially with officers like Robert Garland on your side!

Source: The New York Times


UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

  • What color was the Iphone?
    I feel so incomplete... He described the weapon: "black handgun", we all know those are the worse one and simply saying pistol, handgung, etc wouldnt have been descriptive enough. What was the Calibre? Compact/subcompact/full frame? at least give meaningful descriptors....
    Glad they were able to get the phone back though...
  • FYI, most people do not know that detailed of info. Your comment comes off smart-alecky...
  • I agree, great comment. What other color is there for a gun? Mauve, yellow, avocado?
  • Black is most polular (and in a robbery, tends to be more intimidating and less distinct), but I'd guess about 25% of handguns are silver (nickel). Polymer handguns (such as Glocks) are quite common now, and perhaps 5% of new handguns are olive green (OG) or a shade of brown called flat dark-earth (FDE). These are camouflage colors that don't stand out as much against a green or khaki uniform.
  • Smart arse? No - that's funny mate - sorry
  • Ive seen so many of these stories I had really high hopes when I had an iPad go missing at my business. The iPad had the tracking features enabled and we had a location. The detective that finally was assigned to the case repeatedly informed me that he couldn't go knocking on doors and that no tracking would be more accurate than a city block, despite me telling him that we had a single address. To prove ME wrong he called apple and spoke to them about the tracking and informed me that the iPad could not be tracked at all. Utterly stupid.
  • he's detecting wrong, I hope I never get an asshat that incompetent if something like that happens.
  • My iPad was stolen in Barcelona while traveling on business and the police were not even that helpful. Property crime is just not a priority - you're just bringing them extra paperwork.
    I contacted Apple, and according to them the iPad will be remotely locked/wiped if its device ID tries to access Apple's servers (such as by logging onto iTunes/synching with iCloud), but it's probably been sold as already jail broken for the buyer's convenience.
  • Es es mi cel
  • This is a nice story but I wonder how this will unfold with the recent supreme court decision that police need a warrant to track someone via GPS.
  • Doesn't matter in this case because they weren't tracking the person, they were tracking the device. If the device, which isn't owned by the thief, is on a person (i.e. the theif), then it has no barring on the ruling. That's the finite difference here.
  • I was gonna say the same thing here… also, I think there would be an exception for a crime in progress. You don't need a warrant to search if you, as an officer, see the crime going down. Probable cause would override prior consent.
  • What you are describing is called "exigent circumstances." It is a classic exceptions to requiring a warrant.
  • i just want to know how he was able to do it from his phone. i think thats awesome but want to know the how to on this in case it happens at my school.
  • Download find my iPhone app. Then you can log into any iTunes account any activate that device to be located, open the app with another idevice and log in to the same iTunes account. My wife and I share an account and I have helped her when lost from work using this feature.
  • This is assuming the iphone/ipad that was lost is still logged into your itunes account, correct? As well as still powered on. If the phone does not have the find my iphone feature turned on or if it is not connected to your itunes account then you're SOL.
  • Not to sound like an iPhone commercial but there's an app for that. You just gotta download the find my iPhone app and then plug in the iCloud address and password and itll show you the location.
  • This is why I'm putting my iPhone 4S in a Ballistic case, so the Apple logo on the rear can't be seen and it's not so obvious that I have an iPhone. No one is stealing Android or Windows phones. Just iPhone.
  • To the editor: Did you mean apprehend rather than reprimand?
    Victim to the thief: Give me back my iPhone before I call the police to reprimand you!
  • Give me back my iPhone you naughty, naughty boy!
  • Bullsheit that PIG probably planted it on him. Never believe a PIG they are liars.
  • This is exactly why I don't believe in technology.
  • The track feature is only useful if the thief is a dumbass. Any smart iPhone thief would know to turn the device off right away and do a full restore.
  • I had a phone stolen from someone I let my old one to and the cops got it back it works pretty good. Thank goodness they wanted to use the phone and not sell and restore it
  • If you report your iphone stolen and give the MEIA and Serial number to police, how can anyone get service? It would seem that the places such as AT&T and Verizon would know the phone was stolen from a data base and call the police.