AirTag used by Boston police to recover stolen bike

Posted:
in General Discussion
The Boston Police were able to recover a man's stolen bicycle by tracking down an AirTag that the owner had cleverly stowed inside the bike's bag.

Image Credit: Boston Police/Gene Gorter
Image Credit: Boston Police/Gene Gorter


On the night of July 4, Gene Gorter's bike was stolen from outside his home in Boston. The following day, he contacted the Boston Police department to report the theft. He also provided the officers with his AirTag information.

The AirTag was stowed inside a pouch that was attached to his bicycle. Placed within the pouch instead of on show on the bike's frame, the hope was that a thief would miss the AirTag and so police might be able to track it.

And, according to GadgetLite that's exactly what happened -- police were able to locate the bicycle, the bag, and the AirTag by using an iPhone. The bike was recovered near a trashcan, which contained both the bag and the AirTag.

Police assume that the thief did not find anything useful in the bag, so they simply ditched it. Fortunately, this meant they also didn't discover the AirTag.

While it certainly worked out well for Gorter, it's important to remember that Apple does not recommend using AirTag as an anti-theft device, nor does it recommend using it to keep track of children or pets.





AirTag was announced at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event in April of 2021. It is available to purchase for $29, or can be bought in a four-pack for $99.

The small, circular trackers are designed to be clipped to commonly misplaced objects, such as luggage, keys, backpacks, and more. AppleInsider praised it for its ease of use and thoughtful privacy features, rating it a 4.5 out of 5.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 131member
    Although this may not be what Apple recommends, this is the way most people WANT to use their AirTag trackers - to track pets, prevent theft, and to aid in the recovery of stolen items.
    edited July 2021 ronndewmepulseimageswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    At least he contacted the police to do the tracking. Some would try to do it themselves and could find themselves in imminent physical danger. Maybe that’s why Apple doesn’t recommend this.
    dewmewatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 11
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 542member
    p-dog said:
    Although this may not be what Apple recommends, this is the way most people WANT to use their AirTag trackers - to track pets, prevent theft, and to aid in the recovery of stolen items.
    Ditto. Already have one on my own bike.
    pulseimagesp-dogwatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 11
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,116member
    What information did he give the police? His user ID and password?
    MrBunsidewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 131member
    lkrupp said:
    At least he contacted the police to do the tracking. Some would try to do it themselves and could find themselves in imminent physical danger. Maybe that’s why Apple doesn’t recommend this.
    However, “Imminent physical danger” would not pertain to pet tracking, another AirTag use of which Apple does not approve.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 131member
    hmlongco said:
    p-dog said:
    Although this may not be what Apple recommends, this is the way most people WANT to use their AirTag trackers - to track pets, prevent theft, and to aid in the recovery of stolen items.
    Ditto. Already have one on my own bike.
    I have one installed on my bicycle using a hidden mount. I also performed surgery on that AirTag to remove its speaker. I don’t want any sound to tip off a thief that there is a tracker on my bicycle.
    stompyDnykjpRfC6fnBswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    delslowdelslow Posts: 4member
    Apple is just covering their ass.  They have to say stuff like that so that people can't sue.  They'll sue anyways.  Oh, Apple.  Just figure out how to stop it from being used to stalk people and let us use it in every other way.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    stompystompy Posts: 409member
    p-dog said:
    I have one installed on my bicycle using a hidden mount. I also performed surgery on that AirTag to remove its speaker. I don’t want any sound to tip off a thief that there is a tracker on my bicycle.
    Both good/necessary for improving your odds. I've seen one disguised as a reflector that might escape notice.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,099member
    While it certainly worked out well for Gorter, it's important to remember that Apple does not recommend using AirTag as an anti-theft device, nor does it recommend using it to keep track of children or pets.
    There must be some lawyer that told Apple to say this.  This is precisely why I bought 5 Air Tags.  I'm going to put them on certain high-value items in case they get stolen.

    Heck, even the police is recommending AirTags to help recover stolen vehicles.  
    DnykjpRfC6fnBswatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 11
    I see they say Apple don't recommend it but because of this story I am buying another 4 pack for our cars, not for children or pets but I suppose if our daughter was still in grade school we would put one in her backpack. Perhaps because of legal reasons, that is why Apple doesn't recommend it but man, it sure looks like it works for such a purpose. Glad the dude got his bicycle back using the AirTag. Matter of fact, great for the dude!

    P.S. Any person owning a Honda or a Heavy Duty pickup in Pierce County, WA desperately needs to do this. The amount of Hondas and heavy duty pickups around Tacoma and its suburbs that are stolen daily just amazes me to no end.
    edited July 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    p-dog said:
    hmlongco said:
    p-dog said:
    Although this may not be what Apple recommends, this is the way most people WANT to use their AirTag trackers - to track pets, prevent theft, and to aid in the recovery of stolen items.
    Ditto. Already have one on my own bike.
    I have one installed on my bicycle using a hidden mount. I also performed surgery on that AirTag to remove its speaker. I don’t want any sound to tip off a thief that there is a tracker on my bicycle.
    I was wondering about this as well.  I'm not qualified on my own to make such a modification though, so I I'm going to have to look it up somewhere.
    watto_cobra
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