7 Stories about Using GPS to Recover Stolen Mobiles

GPS is playing a major part in our lives these days and it is a brilliant tool to protect us from crime, or at the very least recover things that have been stolen and catch the people who stole them. In the USA 113 mobiles are stolen EVERY MINUTE and most of them are sold overseas. In many areas including New Zealand, iPhones are as good as cash for someone wanting to make a quick drug buy. 

BakkumOften we don’t realise how easy it is, despite the fact that we pretty much all have one or more GPS and location enabled devices on us. My iPhone and iPad both have SIM cards which are on all the time. If either of them went missing, I can trace them, create an audible tone to help me or police locate them and I can wipe them forever so they can’t be reused if someone stole them. We all use GPS apps of some sort, even if it is just the mapping application on our phone. We just don’t think about other ways that we can use this technology, or how the tech can be used to catch people who want to deprive us of our property and our safety.

The good news is that when people are smart and use an application like Find My iPhone, if not the thieves, then the receivers can be caught and often Police find a lot more than just your mobile. Let’s not make it easy for them.

If I went missing and I had my mobile on me, I could be found. Of course the Police would need a warrant to achieve that, but bottom line is they could. I also check in with Foursquare and other applications, so often my last known location can also be pinpointed.

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I love stories where GPS catches people in the act of, or following a crime. Here are a few recents.

  1. A drive by shooter gets caught within half an hour, by the GPS in his rental car in Providence R.I.
  2. Aspen Police leave bikes as bait with GPS trackers on the ready.
  3. Find my iPhone helps recover stolen iPad and bottle of whisky, 3 people arrested in Scottburgh.
  4. Utah Police recover $200,000 worth of tequila using the GPS in the stolen truck. 
  5. Here are 3 more stories from Techtrace, a company that sells an app that helps you protect your data and recover your mobile.

6 thoughts on “7 Stories about Using GPS to Recover Stolen Mobiles

  1. Great article Luigi. I was wondering about your thoughts about leaving GPS tracking on, since that also identifies your location when taking pictures. I know some are turning this off this tracking for security reasons, since they are worried about making child abductions easier if they post photos in social media that gives out too much location information.

    • Thanks Jim, yes there are risks and this is a difficult situation given that often people who commit these crimes are very smart and tech savvy. I understand many crimes are even planned by people who are incarcerated but continue to have access to Facebook and other social media. Tools like Facebook Graph make it really easy to find info about anyone that has a profile, whether or not they are your friends and as soon as you comment on anything, you have pretty much bypassed your security settings. I think this problem has gone beyond what you can protect yourself against, although caution is still appropriate. I did a case study for a presentation a couple of years ago. I thought of a fictional name, found someone on FB with that name and was able to compile a significant history about that person. I didn’t name her in my presentation, but was able to hint at enough information to raise serious concern and that was without GPS! This included where she worked, where and when she was going on holiday, and lots more.

  2. My grandson has a phone with tracking.
    He left his phone in the car one day, when they were sightseeing in San Antonio.
    When his family came out of the Alamo, they found that their car had been broken into, and the things they had purchased that day–were gone (including his phone). He said, “sorry that I left my phone in the car, mom”.
    She asked him if it was on…..and he said yes.
    “Great!” Because it was on, she was able to tell the police exactly where the thieves had gone.
    They got back everything that had been stolen.
    Afterwards, my grandson proudly told everyone– “My phone is a hero!!”

  3. Pingback: 7 Stories about Using GPS to Recover Stolen Mobiles | Greatpoetrymhf's Weblog

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