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iPhone Rats Out Druggie

Caught by iPhone

In his arrest photo, Scott Simons looks a little befuddled. Other than the usual fog of arrest, he may very well be wondering how cops knew he was the thief who had stolen an iPhone from a business in Astoria. After all, he was no longer at the location and no one had seen him do the deed. But in this case, the phone itself ratted him out.

Using an app installed on the phone, the owner was able to use the built in GPS to locate where the missing phone was. She notified Astoria police that the phone was current in a convenience store, just down the street. Police then used an old trick when they arrived at the Mini Mart in question: they called the phone and listened for a ring.

Simons was subsequently arrested for burglary and was found in possession of a “heroin kit” – paraphernalia and the drug. They say Simons entered the business through an unsecured door and grabbed whatever caught his eye.

Typically, these kinds of petty burglaries are used by addicts to fuel an immediate need for ready cash to get a fix. Portable and easy to conceal items are the most attractive and a cell phone can either be converted to cash or traded directly for drugs. Simmons had been released from jail the same day as this incident. He had been jailed for a parole violation on an unrelated offense.

The Find my iPhone app is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It has the ability to remotely locate one of these products, generate a map to find it and even override the “silent” mode and play a sound for two minutes continuously. The app can also remotely erase all personal data and lock the device so thieves cannot use it.

Sophisticated thieves will remove the batter when they steal a phone to prevent tracking, but the opportunistic criminal won’t bother – their primary focus is just accumulating enough boodle to get some drugs.


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