Tools

Apps Help Police Find Stolen Electronics

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - If you lose your smart phone, or another electronic device, there is likely a free app to find it.

Jackson police said they are seeing more thefts for these types of devices, but tracking down who took them, has never been easier.

Wynn Miller said he was shocked when he discovered his iPhone 4 suddenly disappeared.

"I put it right on a podium, and that's the last place I remember leaving it, and it still bothered me," Miller said. "I couldn't find my iPhone and iPhones are costly. I didn't want to lose it."

But he soon learned he did not just misplace it; it was stolen.

Miller said he went online, and tracked his phone to someone's home on Carolane Drive.

Fortunately, with the police's help, he got his phone back later that night. It had already been sold for $300.

"It was totally amazing, the technology that you can track down, and see whose house the phone's in. I was amazed," Miller said.

Investigators said apps like Miller's make their jobs easier, and save them time.

"It's a good thing for the person to get their property back," said Frank Cagle, an investigator with the Jackson Police Department. "You get some closure on the case, instead of having a case where you never find the property and you're always looking for it."

That is why they are encouraging residents to download any of the tracking apps, like Find My iPhone, iPad or Android, even lookout.com.

Police said you can track your device, as long as you have Internet access. Most of them are free, and each app does something different.

"All the free apps will find your phone, and they'll find it for you," Investigator Cagle said. "Some of them will make the phone scream, some of them will lock the face of the phone. Some of them will wipe the data, if you can't recover it. Depends on the app."

Miller said the most important thing was that he got his iPhone back.

"I didn't even press charges," he said. "I was so happy to get it back that I let the person off just for bringing it back, or getting it back."

As with Miller's case, Investigator Cagle told 7 Eyewitness News most of the victims who are able to recover their stolen devices do not press charges. They are just glad to have them back.