Apple's 'Find My' helped police track suspects in deadly pursuit

in General Discussion edited October 2020
A stolen iPad and Apple's "Find My" app helped police in Melbourne, Australia, track two men in a deadly chase after a home invasion.

The Find My app helped police track two suspects in what would end up a fatal pursuit.
The Find My app helped police track two suspects in what would end up a fatal pursuit.

In a recent home invasion, 29-year-old Vaatoa Chang and 36-year-old Jonas Montealegre reportedly made off with two vehicles and an iPad, the latter of which apparently had Apple's "Find My" device tracking feature enabled, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Initially, the iPad's owner tracked down his car to a local hotel before authorities took over. The men switched vehicles at the establishment, prompting police helicopters to follow the iPad's "Find My" pings on a two-hour pursuit through Melbourne.

After a spike strip deflated the car's tires, officers in the air reported that the men were trying to carjack two more vehicles on the road. A second pursuit was authorized but would not last long.

According to the Herald, the disabled Toyota Kluger that the men stole from the hotel sped off and careened into a semi-truck at about 62 mph. The suspects were both killed in the crash, which also caused the semi to tip over onto another car. Drivers of the truck and other vehicles involved in the collision escaped with only minor injuries, police said.

The incident took place on Feb. 4, but police only recently revealed full details of the chase.

This isn't the first time that the "Find My" app has helped police run down criminals. Most recently, federal authorities in February arrested a sex trafficker and robber after a victim used the tracking app to locate a stolen iPhone.


  • Reply 1 of 6
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,624member
    It’s fortunate that criminals are stupid, or they’d have figured out that stealing peoples iPhones and iPads is a bad idea by now.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,816member
    The suspects were both killed in the crash... 
    I love happy endings.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    spodspod Posts: 30member
    sflocal said:
    The suspects were both killed in the crash... 
    I love happy endings.
    Yes my first thought too was exactly that and the fact that the other parties’ injuries were minor. Karma’s a bitch.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    There should be a streaming series called "Find My" from Apple TV+. The stories are just kept coming.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    D-Did.... did the iPad get saved??
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Sooo... my stolen story...

    I'm a pilot, and you can tell, because that's one of the first things I told you.
    I had my things in a backpack at work, and while I was on the manufacturing floor for two hours, I came back to find my items strewn about, my backpack emptied, a bottle of insulin broken on the cement floor, and my Bose Aviation A20 Headset and iPad gone.  I was talking to my wife at the time, and she told me that she never heard me say so many bad words. 
    I called our work's security, and they came as soon as they could... 20 minutes later.  No offers to review the video; just took the information and told me there was 18 other reports of theft.
    The local police department was called, and I told them I'd wait in my car.  On the way to the car, I remembered my iPad had a full battery, and I had Find Friends enabled.  I scanned it with my iPhone, and found exactly where my things were.  At first I thought it was an apartment complex, but when I arrived at the convenience store near the apartments, there was a car on the corner with a bunch of backpacks in it, and I thought that was odd.
    Numerous phone calls to 911 to get the police there went unresolved, and finally the police officer threw down the trump card:  "Did you see your items there?"
    "No, but I can make my iPad chime and say, 'Hello Officer Johnson, it's me, Jeffy"
    "I'm sorry, but unless you see the items in the possession of the people, we can't help."
    "OK, I'll make it sing, and then confront the people."
    "NO!  Do not confront them."
    "So... you're saying you're not going to help, and I can't help myself.  My items are 20 feet from me, and you're telling me to fill out a police report to get back $2500 worth of my stuff."
    "I'm sorry."
    "No, you're not.  Have a nice day."
    Anyway, that was a good thing... as it gave me proof that they had it.
    I went back in the convenience store to get a charge cable, and on the way back, the girl asked me for gas money.  Seriously, you steal a bunch of computers and personal stuff and only have 5 miles of gas in the getaway car?
    Apologizing for not having cash, she went to find gas money from others.
    ***Note:  I interrupt this gripping story to tell you that taking pictures while in this situation works better on paper than in real life.  I was pretending to argue with my wife, and that she was hurting me, so that when the cops showed up, the people that stole the stuff would be less suspicious, but back to the pictures.  I know why Bigfoot pictures look the way they do.  Of the 13 pictures and videos, none of them had the license plate readible, and there was just one with the man identifiable.***
    Anyway, they got 3 dollars worth of gas money (that's all they put in the tank), and took off.  I called 911 again, and they told me not to follow them (yet again), but my hotel was on the same path.  I checked Find Friends, and the ipad tracked them (this was used as evidence), and went to my hotel, where I discovered...
    My logbook (with about $12,000 worth of flights) was missing, along with my kneeboard and I reported that to the police.  I did write down the license plate (thank goodness).
    The police finally took the $15,000 worth of stuff stolen (the logbook is now worth $20, as I take pictures of the endorsements and flights), and the license plate (the car was stolen too), and used that as motivation to go pick them up.
    I got my stuff back at 4am the next morning, and the "bad guy" was nice enough to return all my stuff, even things I didn't realize were stolen, but were mine.  I didn't get anything that wasn't mine.
    4 counts of possession of stolen property
    1 count of stolen car
    1 count of possessing a controlled substance without a prescription
    3 hours of sleep that night
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