News Column

iPhone Helps Cops Track Down iPhone Thief

October 11, 2012

Jeremy Gorner

A 30-year-old man robbed at gunpoint of his iPhone this week eventually got it back when Chicago police used a tracking device to find the phone after it was sold to someone on the street, authorities said today.

Police were also able to arrest the alleged robber, a 16-year-old boy, who was charged today with armed robbery. It was not immediately known if he was charged as an adult, but police did not release his name.

Armed with a TEC-9 gun, the robber approached the victim about 4 p.m. Tuesday near 107th Street and Wentworth Avenue in the Roseland neighborhood. Authorities said the robber made off with the iPhone and some cash. The victim, though, wasn't hurt.

Meanwhile, officers from the Calumet District tactical unit responded to the scene a few minutes later. An officer from the unit who also owns an iPhone activated his "Find My iPhone" application, entered the victim's phone information and learned the stolen phone was about four blocks away at 103rd Street and Wentworth, authorities said.

Once at the location, the officer again activated the application on his phone. That's when the other officers heard a "beeping" sound coming from outside a store not far from the intersection, authorities said.

The sound was coming from the victim's iPhone, which was being held by a person standing in front of the store, authorities said.

When the cops rushed over to question the person, he explained that he had just purchased the phone for about $140 from a teen-age boy riding a bicycle, authorities said. He then gave the officers a description of the boy.

The boy was briefly seen by the cops riding his bike before they lost sight of him. But it wouldn't be long before they found the bike in a yard outside a home near 107th and Wentworth, authorities said.

Officers went to the home and its owner -- an acquaintance of the robber -- gave them permission to search it, authorities said. Once there, they found the teen-age boy in a room pretending to be asleep, and placed him under arrest, authorities said.

The officers also found a TEC-9 in a closet, authorities said.

Soon thereafter, the victim identified the boy as the robber, authorities said. The person who bought the stolen phone also identified the robber.

The boy is expected to appear in court Thursday.

jgorner@tribune.com

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Source: (c) 2012 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services


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