Find My misfire leads to SWAT raid on grandmother

Posted:
in iPhone
A Denver detective is being sued after he led a SWAT raid on an elderly woman's home after Find My falsely pinged her home as a location of a stolen iPhone.




On January 3, 2022, a truck was stolen from a Denver Hyatt hotel. According to the owner, it contained six firearms, two drones, $4,000 in cash, and an iPhone 11.

The following day, Denver detective Gary Staab interviewed the owner of the stolen goods. Staab was told that Apple's Find My app had pinged a residential address twice the day before.

Stabb then drafted an affidavit to search that resident's home.

The resident of the address in question was 77-year-old Ruby Johnson. During the raid, Johnson was placed in a police car as offers used a battering ram to destroy her garage door and door frame.

They also destroyed property in her home, including her collectible dolls, as they searched her home for the stolen items. None of the stolen property was found in the house.

Johnson is suing Staab over the search itself, and the destruction. The suit alleges that Staab's affidavit violated Johnson's right, afforded by the state constitution, to "be free of unreasonable searches and seizures," according to NBC News.

The complaint alleges that Staab failed to corroborate the location independently. Apple's Find My app is designed to determine approximate locations and should not be used as a law enforcement tool.

The complaint also states that neither Staab nor the police department apologized for the raid. The police department also refuses to pay for repairs from the search.

Following the suit's filing, the Denver Police Department and the Department of Public Safety issued a statement saying that they "sincerely apologize to Ms. Johnson for any negative impacts this situation may have had on her."

Following the raid, Johnson left her home for her son's home in Texas, because she did not want to stay in her home. She has since returned to Denver but is afraid to answer the door.

A comprehensive breakdown of the situation, as well as the affidavit footage of the raid, can be viewed on 9News

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,156member
    ...location of a stolen iPhone.

    A SWAT raid on a home for "a" (in the singular) iPhone?  That sounds like a rather enormous waste of tax dollars to me.  I would say that even if the number was 9 iPhones.  Maybe if it was 50 or 100, then I can understand a SWAT raid.  But for one?  

    In addition to that SWAT raid tax dollar waste, you then have the waste of having to pay to compensate the lady for all the broken items, including collectable dolls, some of which may not be so easy to replace.  And now you also have a lawsuit filed as well.

    The police issue an apology (but refuse to pay for repairs) and expect that to end that particular case so they can then move on to the next SWAT raid, which could also be a mistake.

    All the while, this poor lady is left with financial loss and with fear about what may next come through her door.

    All over a SINGLE iPhone.

    Madness.  Utter madness.
    jroyleftoverbaconRobJenktht
  • Reply 2 of 16
    jdw said:
    ...location of a stolen iPhone.

    A SWAT raid on a home for "a" (in the singular) iPhone?  That sounds like a rather enormous waste of tax dollars to me.  I would say that even if the number was 9 iPhones.  Maybe if it was 50 or 100, then I can understand a SWAT raid.  But for one?  

    In addition to that SWAT raid tax dollar waste, you then have the waste of having to pay to compensate the lady for all the broken items, including collectable dolls, some of which may not be so easy to replace.  And now you also have a lawsuit filed as well.

    The police issue an apology (but refuse to pay for repairs) and expect that to end that particular case so they can then move on to the next SWAT raid, which could also be a mistake.

    All the while, this poor lady is left with financial loss and with fear about what may next come through her door.

    All over a SINGLE iPhone.

    Madness.  Utter madness.
    Not all over a single iPhone… stolen vehicle, 6 firearms, a drone and $6k on cash
    racerhomie3gatorguywatto_cobraking editor the grategregoriusmroundaboutnow
  • Reply 3 of 16
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,736member
    jdw said:
    ...location of a stolen iPhone.

    A SWAT raid on a home for "a" (in the singular) iPhone?  That sounds like a rather enormous waste of tax dollars to me.  I would say that even if the number was 9 iPhones.  Maybe if it was 50 or 100, then I can understand a SWAT raid.  But for one?  

    In addition to that SWAT raid tax dollar waste, you then have the waste of having to pay to compensate the lady for all the broken items, including collectable dolls, some of which may not be so easy to replace.  And now you also have a lawsuit filed as well.

    The police issue an apology (but refuse to pay for repairs) and expect that to end that particular case so they can then move on to the next SWAT raid, which could also be a mistake.

    All the while, this poor lady is left with financial loss and with fear about what may next come through her door.

    All over a SINGLE iPhone.

    Madness.  Utter madness.
    I'm pretty sure the police was more concern about the 6 firearms, that were stolen along with the iPhone and not just the iPhone. Or did you miss reading this part of the article ...

    "On January 3, 2022, a truck was stolen from a Denver Hyatt hotel. According to the owner, it contained six firearms, two drones, $4,000 in cash, and an iPhone 11."
    watto_cobraking editor the grategregoriusm
  • Reply 4 of 16
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,639member
    jdw said:
    ...location of a stolen iPhone.

    A SWAT raid on a home for "a" (in the singular) iPhone?  That sounds like a rather enormous waste of tax dollars to me.  I would say that even if the number was 9 iPhones.  Maybe if it was 50 or 100, then I can understand a SWAT raid.  But for one?  

    In addition to that SWAT raid tax dollar waste, you then have the waste of having to pay to compensate the lady for all the broken items, including collectable dolls, some of which may not be so easy to replace.  And now you also have a lawsuit filed as well.

    The police issue an apology (but refuse to pay for repairs) and expect that to end that particular case so they can then move on to the next SWAT raid, which could also be a mistake.

    All the while, this poor lady is left with financial loss and with fear about what may next come through her door.

    All over a SINGLE iPhone.

    Madness.  Utter madness.
    Not all over a single iPhone… stolen vehicle, 6 firearms, a drone and $6k on cash
    Was the stolen vehicle found on the property?   Nope.
    Why did the police have to break in?  Why couldn't they walk up to the door and investigate?    Or announce over a loudspeaker from the outside that the person inside must come out.  Then enter the home and re-ping the phone.   

    Because they're a bunch off macho, unprofessional shits and it's so much more fun to break things.

    I hope she wins her case big time.  
    JaiOh81chiajroybonoboblordjohnwhorfinStrangeDaysleftoverbacontht
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Unfortunately, "she was a black woman" is the answer. Again
    DAalsethking editor the gratejroybonobobapplebynaturelordjohnwhorfinStrangeDaysleftoverbacon
  • Reply 6 of 16
    I've been noticing problems with "Find My" system as well and this is fairly new despite the iPhone and the AirTags running the most current software/firmware. My dog has an AirTag on his collar and once in a while I'll get an alert after leaving the house that he's at home (when I'm on the road) but he's actually sleeping in the cargo compartment of my SUV right behind me. Consequently, I'm going to be more cautious about believing the AirTags attached to my luggage when traveling via air. 
  • Reply 7 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,507member
    I also had an odd instance last week where my iPhone thought it was roughly 80 miles away from my actual. Rebooting fixed the location. As a one-off (as far as I know) it wasn't all that concerning at the time, but perhaps something to be more aware of considering the above. 
    JaiOh81
  • Reply 8 of 16
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,037member
    Imagine the real perps watching the raid from the house next door!
    jroybonobobJaiOh81applebynatureleftoverbacon
  • Reply 9 of 16
    Colorado no longer has qualified immunity, so she might actually get something.  Of course, the cops will never admit that they didn't do everything in their power to make sure they had the right address.
    JaiOh81applebynaturelordjohnwhorfinStrangeDaysleftoverbacon
  • Reply 10 of 16
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,714member
    Meanwhile, the crooks with the guns (and iphone) saw the activity across the street and quietly slipped out the back door….
    jroybonobob
  • Reply 11 of 16
    A very maddening story about the brainless use of Find My. The way it works is based on communication with nearby devices that are able to detect the signal. Thus the accuracy is limited by how recently it has been pinged and how well the GPS data was recorded with architectural and other interference not being accounted for. The article's title seems to indicate that this is a "misfire" of Find My, but the above two sources of error can combine to produce inaccurate results, and Apple has been very clear about this. I fault the dumbass cops for not being up to speed on this limitation, and then acting with excessive force and no remorse against this poor lady. Their attitude of "not our fault" is arrogant, and lacks any compassion for their victim..."To Protect and To Serve" seems to have been left on the curb.
    muthuk_vanalingambonobobgregoriusm
  • Reply 12 of 16
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,816member
    MrBunside said:
    Unfortunately, "she was a black woman" is the answer. Again
    Most ignorant statement of the day.   The police obviously had no clue who was there at the address.  They just used the Find My results and went in.  Trying to make it about race and police is just dumb. Especially with no evidence.   

    Hopefully someone at the Denver PD gets an epiphany and settles this to the victims favor and then instigates a “policing 101” course at the PD that emphasizes actual police work.   Gum shoeing it.  Surveillance.  Other sorts of old school work.  Technology doesn’t replace the actual police work. It can enhance it and provide additional information but does not replace fundamentals.  
    edited December 2022 Phoenix303
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Guy had six firearms in his car? Maybe look into his own shenanigans, no? This American obsession with guns is so mindboggling to the rest of the world.
    muthuk_vanalingamleftoverbaconfred1
  • Reply 14 of 16
    chadbag said:
    MrBunside said:
    Unfortunately, "she was a black woman" is the answer. Again
    Most ignorant statement of the day.   The police obviously had no clue who was there at the address.  They just used the Find My results and went in.  Trying to make it about race and police is just dumb. Especially with no evidence.   

    Hopefully someone at the Denver PD gets an epiphany and settles this to the victims favor and then instigates a “policing 101” course at the PD that emphasizes actual police work.   Gum shoeing it.  Surveillance.  Other sorts of old school work.  Technology doesn’t replace the actual police work. It can enhance it and provide additional information but does not replace fundamentals.  
    So let me get this straight… you think that a) there’s no requirement to identify residents on the affidavit to search a location and that a judge signed off on it, b) that even if there weren’t such a requirement, officers walked into a possible violent confrontation without using the tools at their disposal to determine what they were facing, c) that the police willfully didn’t determine if the elderly or children were present, d) did all of this without the probable foreknowledge of the race of the occupants (based on area, name, criminal records, etc)

    Which means either there’s a whole lot of magical thinking on your part (based on my experience of what my friends in law enforcement would  do — and the several that made incredulous faces when I sent this article to them for feedback). Or…

    Or…

    The inescapable conclusion that the Denver police department is so dysfunctional and inept that it didn’t occur to anyone in the chain of command, the rank and file on the ground, or the anyone in the legal system that this plan had serious deficiencies and serious possible repercussions?

    To quote my buddies, “Someone, probably more than one, absolutely knew there was an elderly black woman there and didn’t give two shits. That’s exactly how institutional racism plays out.”
    edited December 2022 StrangeDaysmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 16
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,156member
    Not all over a single iPhone… stolen vehicle, 6 firearms, a drone and $6k on cash
    Why is that come-back above somehow a Gotcha that attracted 5 people to click Like on? Are you folks unaware that the USA is the world's gun storage?  That's a truth without even entering the gun debate.  Americans own a lot of guns, and an enthusiast can easy have 6 or more.  Sure, the cops don't like it.  But it's the second amendment, so what can you do?

    Since when is a drone a SWAT worthy offense?

    Since when does having a lot of cash mean the police can and should raid your home?  While dangerous, it is everyone's right to have their own money at home, rather than a bank, if they so choose.  If one ought not do that, ban cash by law.

    The fact remains that the trigger is a SINGLE iPhone "as per the original article" which largely focuses on that.  Indeed, had it merely been the 6 guns, a single drone, and $6k in cash, the story wouldn't have even made the headlines here on AppleInsider.  Consider that.

    I stand by my earlier post.

    RobJenk
  • Reply 16 of 16
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,259member
    jdw said:
    Not all over a single iPhone… stolen vehicle, 6 firearms, a drone and $6k on cash
    Why is that come-back above somehow a Gotcha that attracted 5 people to click Like on? 
    Because of the stupidity of the very first line of your first post: 
    A SWAT raid on a home for "a" (in the singular) iPhone?
    ...All over a SINGLE iPhone.
     The article made it clear that SWAT wasn't activated for a single iPhone, but because of an iPhone that was supposed to have provided a location of stolen firearms and a not insignificant amount of cash. Not the same thing as your first statement. That you stand by your statement is ludicrous, but it's your choice. Your second post back peddles some while trying not to appear doing so.

    The affidavit for search warrant and subsequent investigation should show how badly Denver police screwed up, giving Grandma decent compensation, especially if she gets a good lawyer.

    zoetmb said:
    jdw said:
    ...location of a stolen iPhone.

    A SWAT raid on a home for "a" (in the singular) iPhone?  That sounds like a rather enormous waste of tax dollars to me.  I would say that even if the number was 9 iPhones.  Maybe if it was 50 or 100, then I can understand a SWAT raid.  But for one?  

    In addition to that SWAT raid tax dollar waste, you then have the waste of having to pay to compensate the lady for all the broken items, including collectable dolls, some of which may not be so easy to replace.  And now you also have a lawsuit filed as well.

    The police issue an apology (but refuse to pay for repairs) and expect that to end that particular case so they can then move on to the next SWAT raid, which could also be a mistake.

    All the while, this poor lady is left with financial loss and with fear about what may next come through her door.

    All over a SINGLE iPhone.

    Madness.  Utter madness.
    Not all over a single iPhone… stolen vehicle, 6 firearms, a drone and $6k on cash
    Was the stolen vehicle found on the property?   Nope.
    Now why would you expect that a stolen vehicle would be found at the crook's address? Why would you not consider that the crook or crooks wouldn't off load the money, guns, and iPhone and then ditch the truck? A description of the truck along with the plate sitting in front of the house of the crook along with stolen property would be a really stupid move. Not all crooks are that stupid. Most stolen vehicles are abandoned or stripped for parts and then abandoned, unless it was a high-end ride, then it's sold overseas.

    The police made some really bad mistakes. Not seeing the truck at the address and not assuming that was  significant were not among them.


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