Deputy's blunder helps cops bust fleeing criminal via Find My iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2021
A suspect fled a traffic stop with a deputy's iPhone in tow -- which didn't end well for the criminal.

Find My helps police track lost iPhone and suspect's truck
Find My helps police track lost iPhone and suspect's truck


Denver police were called in to arrest a suspicious man at a storage lot early Wednesday morning. They discovered a man in a 2000 Chevy pickup truck who matched the description of someone wanted for a felony.

While police were attempting to get the man out of the truck to take him into custody, one deputy placed his iPhone on the rail of the truck bed. The man fled the scene in his truck, crashing through a security fence to make his escape.

The report from 9News on Wednesday evening says that the deputy realized his iPhone was missing, then used Find My to locate the device. It was moving down a highway towards Boulder.

Ultimately the sheriff's office tracked the iPhone, and the truck, to a residence. Boulder police were dispatched to the location and arrested the suspect.

A host of charges were filed against the arrestee, including resisting arrest, possession of a schedule two controlled substance, and flight to avoid prosecution.

Find My allows the owner of an Apple ID to track any Apple device or third-party-enabled accessory using available geo-location, WiFi, or Bluetooth signals. The police officers making the traffic stop got lucky having lost a sophisticated tracking device like iPhone in the suspect's truck.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,326member
    I thought criminals would have caught on by now about Find My. 
  • Reply 2 of 6
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 287member
    lkrupp said:
    I thought criminals would have caught on by now about Find My. 

    He probably didn't know the phone was in the bed of the truck.

  • Reply 3 of 6
    maltzmaltz Posts: 360member
    I wonder what the 4th amendment implications are in this case?  Police can't generally track someone without a warrant.  Yeah, the guy fled the scene and there was plenty of probable cause at that point, but that's hindsight.  But what was the situation when the cop placed the phone on/in the truck?  Was the guy under arrest at that point?  Was there even any probable cause yet, or was it just a normal traffic stop so far?

    Was planting the phone intentional in case things went sideways?  It seems like that argument could be made, since why else would he have his phone out in the first place, and why would he put it on/in the truck instead of back into his own pocket?

    That all might be moot if they had his license plate and the truck wasn't stolen, since they could have easily found him anyway, so fruit of the poisonous tree might not apply.  It's still an interesting case, I think.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 862member
    Were it an Airtag that is specifically a tracking device perhaps there’d be a discussion: though once he illegally fled the scene I doubt even that is an issue. 

    But a phone? No. If anything a stolen item that happened to be traceable. When it was rested on the truck the person was being detained so there’s no provable intent for tracking: he was stopped, no tracking necessary. Then recovering stolen property is straightforward. 


  • Reply 5 of 6
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 960member
    maltz said:
    I wonder what the 4th amendment implications are in this case?  Police can't generally track someone without a warrant.  Yeah, the guy fled the scene and there was plenty of probable cause at that point, but that's hindsight.  But what was the situation when the cop placed the phone on/in the truck?  Was the guy under arrest at that point?  Was there even any probable cause yet, or was it just a normal traffic stop so far?

    Was planting the phone intentional in case things went sideways?  It seems like that argument could be made, since why else would he have his phone out in the first place, and why would he put it on/in the truck instead of back into his own pocket?

    That all might be moot if they had his license plate and the truck wasn't stolen, since they could have easily found him anyway, so fruit of the poisonous tree might not apply.  It's still an interesting case, I think.
    Situation is in the article: "Denver police were called in to arrest a suspicious man at a storage lot early Wednesday morning. They discovered a man in a 2000 Chevy pickup truck who matched the description of someone wanted for a felony."

    Why didn't he put it in his pocket? He was in a hurry (struggle trying to get the suspect out of the truck), putting it down on the nearest surface is instinctive.

    Why did he have it out? Referencing the description seems likely.

    But yes, I suspect the defence attorney could have a field day in court. Hopefully there's body-cam footage.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    I’m all for civil liberty rights, and cops can fudge them, or completely ignore them.  In this case it was an arrest in progress.  
    Handy to have a few airtags to surreptitiously drop in the vehicle “just in case”
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