Man jailed for stalking ex-girlfriend with an AirTag

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in iOS
A UK man has been sentenced to nine weeks in prison after using Apple's AirTags to track his ex-partner's car.




Christopher Paul Trotman, 41, had been in what his ex-girlfriend described as a "controlling" relationship for over ten years before their breakup in August 2020. Then according to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, his ex partner bought a new iPhone in March 2022 -- and got an AirTag notification.

Her iPhone was offering to connect to the AirTag but, not knowing then what one was, she ignored it. Subsequently Trotman would reportedly question her about nights out where he clearly knew her location.

It was only when the ex-girlfriend's daughter also received AirTag notifications that a tracker was found in her car's rear bumper. Police were informed and while the Daily Mail's account is unclear, it's claimed that officers used the same AirTag to track down Trotman.

Trotman initially claimed "this is a joke," before admitting, "I did track her, I still love her."

The man was interviewed by police and later released on bail, but was then re-arrested following alleged witness intimidation. He was remanded into custody, and though the intimidation charge was later dropped, the time he served means he was due to be released immediately after sentencing.

Trotman's lawyer says that his client now believes the stalking to have been "misguided in the extreme."

The Daily Mail account claims that the AirTag "would beep when it was near to his iPhone." As that is not how AirTags work, it's likely that police used his iPhone's Find My app to prove that the AirTag was his.

That suggests that police forces are becoming more aware of using the technology in policing stalking cases. Despite controversy, then, Apple's AirTags do seem to be putting a spotlight on the long-standing use of tracking technology in stalking.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    JP234JP234 Posts: 210member
    The real takeaway from this story is not that obsessed stalkers are now using cheap and available tech to track their victims. That is obvious to anyone.

    The real takeaway is that this miscreant was arrested, released on bail, re-arrested after continuing to intimidate his ex, served a few hours or days in lockup, and was released again on "time served." I don't like this poor woman's chances. She's now faced with the choice of either moving far away, deleting all her social media identies, getting a new phone number, and a new job, thus uprooting her entire life; or she can wait until he harms or kills her, and let the courts punish him ex-facto. Because he's not going to stop now that he knows there are only minor consequences if he gets caught again. And he'll be more cautious about revealing his activities going forward.
    igorskyFred257JaiOh81caladaniantwokatmewjony0dewmebeowulfschmidtmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 194member
    JP234 said:
    The real takeaway from this story is not that obsessed stalkers are now using cheap and available tech to track their victims. That is obvious to anyone.

    The real takeaway is that this miscreant was arrested, released on bail, re-arrested after continuing to intimidate his ex, served a few hours or days in lockup, and was released again on "time served." I don't like this poor woman's chances. She's now faced with the choice of either moving far away, deleting all her social media identies, getting a new phone number, and a new job, thus uprooting her entire life; or she can wait until he harms or kills her, and let the courts punish him ex-facto. Because he's not going to stop now that he knows there are only minor consequences if he gets caught again. And he'll be more cautious about revealing his activities going forward.
    This happens everyday to victims of narcissistic abuse. AirTags are just a simple part of the problem. The court systems in the United States are exactly the same when it comes to psychopaths stalking victims. These narcissists literally stalk their victims into committing suicide. Like the person above stated many victims have to move across or out of the country to safety get away from these pathologically insane people. AirTags just add to the victimizers tools. But, most of the time AirTags are not used by the majority to victimize someone 
    JaiOh81caladaniantwokatmewjony0dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    Scumbags using tracking devices to stalk their exes has been going on since the technology was available.  What's different now is that devices like AirTags gives police the ability (with help from Apple) to determine who owns it via their AppleID. 

    So the reality is that the dumbest thing one can do is use an AirTag for illegal purposes.
    jony0ronnmr. hdewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    Sadly restraining orders are a joke. The police have no interest in enforcing them. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    Sadly restraining orders are a joke. The police have no interest in enforcing them. 
    Enforcing such orders can be dangerous to the officers doing the job.  Why should they concentrate on that when there are millions of peaceful weed users to be arrested, who won't fight back?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,194member
    There are many technologies that serve a valuable role in life, that have been, are being, and will be used for illegal purposes. The real problem is getting society to realize the potential danger to the public, and forcing law enforcement to act on examples of abuse. In short, take reports of stalking more seriously.

    Enforcing TROs is like playing whack-a-mole. The bad guy is most often gone before the cops get there. Then it's he said-she said without video evidence. Look at how long it took states to get tough domestic violence laws, and there are still problems.

    There's no quick and easy answer. But credit for time served sends the wrong message and like so many others it'll take even more bodies more before cops, judges, and legislature give it the attention and enforcement it deserves.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    sflocal said:
    Scumbags using tracking devices to stalk their exes has been going on since the technology was available.  What's different now is that devices like AirTags gives police the ability (with help from Apple) to determine who owns it via their AppleID. 

    So the reality is that the dumbest thing one can do is use an AirTag for illegal purposes.
    What stops someone from buying a burner iPhone and creating a fake AppleID?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    Sadly restraining orders are a joke. The police have no interest in enforcing them. 
    It often seems difficult to get police to take action on matters.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Sadly restraining orders are a joke. The police have no interest in enforcing them. 
    Enforcing such orders can be dangerous to the officers doing the job.  Why should they concentrate on that when there are millions of peaceful weed users to be arrested, who won't fight back?
    I was surprised the first time I learned that if you call the police because a crime is being committed that they are not legally required to come.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    Sadly restraining orders are a joke. The police have no interest in enforcing them. 
    Enforcing such orders can be dangerous to the officers doing the job.  Why should they concentrate on that when there are millions of peaceful weed users to be arrested, who won't fight back?
    I was surprised the first time I learned that if you call the police because a crime is being committed that they are not legally required to come.

    Not only that, but even if they do respond, they're not legally required to actually protect anyone.  Most will, of course, but as recent events show, many will not.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    sflocal said:
    Scumbags using tracking devices to stalk their exes has been going on since the technology was available.  What's different now is that devices like AirTags gives police the ability (with help from Apple) to determine who owns it via their AppleID. 

    So the reality is that the dumbest thing one can do is use an AirTag for illegal purposes.
    What stops someone from buying a burner iPhone and creating a fake AppleID?
    Nothing, but it's my guess that's more the exception to the rule.  I've read quite a few articles about how a stalker's AirTag resulted in them being caught and arrested.  Haven't read anything much about unknown tags.  Creating an AppleID usually means they have a credit-card on file as well.  

    Either way, I'm not too concerned about rogue, burner iPhones with fake AppleID's.  Stalkers are generally too stupid to cover their tracks well.
    watto_cobra
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