Have you ever misplaced your cell phone? If so, you might have used a “find my phone” app(lication) designed to help users locate their lost smartphone via GPS tracking technology. According to Apple Consultant Jeremy Durrwachter, it’s a simple app. The app “stemmed from.. people losing their phones. . . .” Durrwachter said. Although, the app may have been initially designed for that purpose, it may have other purposes as well.
For instance: When Dylan Villarreal and Julian Deherrera carjacked a van the morning of July 17, 2012, the pair allegedly also stole the passengers’ cell phones. One of the phones was a smartphone with a “find my phone” app installed.
The pair then, allegedly, robbed an Albuquerque, New Mexico, 7-Eleven convenience store. By the time the store clerk called the police just moments later, the “find my phone” app had already been remotely activated by the phone’s owner. This app, when turned on, made the phone a GPS tracking device. The app’s mapping function showed the pair’s every move. This led the police to finding not only the stolen phone, but also Dylan Villarreal and Julian Deherrera. Within 15 hours after the robbery, the pair was apprehended.
“It didn’t require the use of (police) tracking them or getting a judge’s signature. It was a simple app that the user was able to engage from a remote location,” said Tasia Martinez, of the Albuquerque police.
For iPhone users, the phone comes with a “Find My iPhone.” For Android users, there are also numerous similar apps available. Check with your marketplace or service provider for more information about these “find my phone” apps.