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View Full Version : Thief Temporarily Makes Off With iPhone During GPS Tracking Demo




MacRumors
Jul 21, 2010, 11:49 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2010/07/21/thief-temporarily-makes-off-with-iphone-during-gps-tracking-demo/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2010/07/21/124852-covia_alert_respond.jpg

The San Francisco Chronicle relates (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/crime/detail?entry_id=68288) the story of a thief who earlier this week briefly made off with an iPhone snatched right from a woman's hand in the city's South of Market neighborhood, not knowing that the phone was being used in a demonstration of real-time GPS tracking. The thief was apprehended about ten minutes later with the help of the location tracking.Kahn said he had asked an assistant, Jordan Sturm, to take his phone out on the sidewalk so he could track her location on his laptop. Seconds after she left, though, a curious thing happened. She appeared -- according to Alert & Respond -- to be running at high speed down the street.

But Sturm no longer had the phone. After she hurried back into the office, she called police and the company relayed the phone's ever-changing location to officers.Alert & Respond (http://www.covialabs.com/products/alert_respond) is a product from Covia Labs designed for first responders such as law enforcement agencies to enable real-time location tracking and to permit officers to share various communication methods across mobile device platforms and agencies.

Article Link: Thief Temporarily Makes Off With iPhone During GPS Tracking Demo (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2010/07/21/thief-temporarily-makes-off-with-iphone-during-gps-tracking-demo/)



ouimetnick
Jul 21, 2010, 11:53 AM
Thats what happens when you steal... sometimes.

wickywahwah
Jul 21, 2010, 11:55 AM
these thieves need to familiarize themselves with the technology they're stealing if they want to be successful...good thing this one didn't bother.

ArtOfWarfare
Jul 21, 2010, 11:57 AM
This sounds too...

convenient, IDK, post police logs or it didn't happen.

CocoaPuffs
Jul 21, 2010, 11:57 AM
Right...*cough publicity stunt*

GutBomb
Jul 21, 2010, 12:05 PM
Suuuure. The only record of this "Horatio Toure" is in a blog associated with the San Francisco Chronicle (to say that it's actually in the Chronicle is a bit disingenuous)

It never happened. Horatio Toure doesn't exist.

Carlsbad
Jul 21, 2010, 12:14 PM
Sounds way too familiar. These stories surface every now and again, and are conveniently launched either before or immediately after the launch of a new iPhone. Criticism, please.

jonjames
Jul 21, 2010, 12:23 PM
sounds set up by the security company to me

bobab8ey
Jul 21, 2010, 12:26 PM
Sounds like the thief should've just stayed with eBay transactions...

knewsom
Jul 21, 2010, 12:30 PM
Seriously, how hard is it to turn off the damned thing?

Sun Baked
Jul 21, 2010, 12:31 PM
Too bad the "Mission Impossible" iPhone 4 isn't real, imagine the look on that thieves face when the Li battery is ignited in his front pocket. :p

Saladinos
Jul 21, 2010, 12:58 PM
Sounds pretty staged to me

GoCubsGo
Jul 21, 2010, 01:04 PM
Sounds pretty staged to me

Apple needs good press ...

nwcs
Jul 21, 2010, 01:07 PM
I'm sure it's real. I've seen stupider things done by thieves and after hearing stories from my police friends it's even more plausible.

Shasterball
Jul 21, 2010, 01:18 PM
This is ironic and awesome....

WestonHarvey1
Jul 21, 2010, 01:23 PM
I like how the screen shot implies there's a campus shooting going on.

But don't forget to pick up your new IDs on the way.

Makosuke
Jul 21, 2010, 01:35 PM
Unless the entire post is a fake and the quote from the police is made up entirely, I don't see how this could be a stunt--the guy posing as the thief would be risking (hell, practically guaranteed) jail time and a felony on his record. And if the police got word of the scheme, there'd probably be criminal charges against the company on top of it.

Not saying a company wouldn't try something like that--companies have done far dumber or sleazier things--but it certainly wouldn't be hard to believe. There are, after all, a lot of petty thieves in the world, and almost by definition they're not the sharpest tools in the shed--if they were, they'd be doing crimes that paid better or doing immoral but technically legal things like the smartest ones.

And assuming this is true, that's a rather hilariously unlucky dude.

roland.g
Jul 21, 2010, 01:51 PM
S
ST
STA
STAG
STAGE
STAGED
STAGED.

Anything can "look" real if you want it to.

gkarris
Jul 21, 2010, 01:58 PM
Is that anything like "loosing a prototype"... :eek:

:rolleyes:

alhedges
Jul 21, 2010, 02:03 PM
I wonder where Jason Chen was at this time?

boscher
Jul 21, 2010, 02:13 PM
We were in Florida and decided to walk next door to a grocery store after dinner. We arrived back at our hotel and soon realized that somehow between loading groceries into the car and strapping our son into his car seat, we forgot the diaper bag in the shopping cart which contained my new iPad 3G, our son's adoption papers and my hubby's wallet.

I sped back to the grocery store parking lot and there was the cart. It had been moved but it was now empty. I ran inside the grocery store and they told me nothing was turned in. I was frantic but I remembered that I could log into MobileMe from my iPhone and use "Find My iPhone". The little blue dot appeared and showed that my iPad was still in the parking lot. I drove around looking for another cart or maybe someone that grabbed it but was still in the parking lot. After an hour of searching and walking around in the Florida heat/humidity, my heart started to sink.

A security guard was walking by and I asked him if he could help me figure out the location. After a few minutes of getting his bearings, he led me over to the exact spot that the GPS was showing as the location. He said, "You know...this kind of makes sense. This is the car of a grocery store employee. Let me go back inside and put a little fear into them by letting them know you are tracking your bag with GPS." He came back out a few minutes later and said, "Let's see what happens."

Less than a minute later, the employee who owned the car comes out and says, "Oh hey! I found your bag!!" He opens his trunk and there was my bag! He tried to explain to me that he was going to bring it in after his shift was over and turn it in to lost and found. Of course, he was lying because he was the guy who brought in the carts and all the carts were inside except the cart that had our bag. I told him that he did not have to explain and that I was just so happy to have our bag back. (I didn't tell him that I was going to track my bag all night and call the cops as soon as I figured out where it settled in for the night!)

I am completely sold on the GPS on the iPad and iPhone because it tracked my iPad down to the EXACT parking spot where my bag was. I am so glad I had the Find My iPhone locator and I am so thankful to the security guard (who wanted only a compliment passed along to his supervisor).

Gelfin
Jul 21, 2010, 02:28 PM
Right...*cough publicity stunt*

Maybe so, but this sort of phone snatching is fairly common around here. I've had somebody try it on me a couple of times and fail. The "death grip" comes in handy for this.

DogHouseDub
Jul 21, 2010, 02:31 PM
Staged in that they invited the thief to do what thieves do... having an expensive cell phone snatched from someone's hand is not something you need to fake in SF.

vigorblade
Jul 21, 2010, 02:36 PM
Maybe so, but this sort of phone snatching is fairly common around here. I've had somebody try it on me a couple of times and fail. The "death grip" comes in handy for this.

I just thought this was so funny. I instantly had the funniest mental images after reading it. :D

eastercat
Jul 21, 2010, 02:51 PM
Even if it was staged, this was a good demonstration of the tracker.

Sun Baked
Jul 21, 2010, 03:23 PM
Heck, the way she was holding it probably fell under frat rules for beer...

If you hold it out away from you in a manner that says I don't want this beer anymore, don't complain when someone takes it away from you and chugs it down.

koilvr
Jul 21, 2010, 04:31 PM
S
ST
STA
STAG
STAGE
STAGED
STAGED.

Anything can "look" real if you want it to.

I am glad my monitor is calibrated and I can see the white letters you used to create the step effect gooood job? now why not use space?

davidkahn
Jul 21, 2010, 04:56 PM
Since this website has resulted in a lot of traffic to our website, I came here to see what's up. Here's what I can add:

The bicycle thief was just unlucky to have grabbed the iPhone during the demonstration. If he had looked at the phone, rather than stuffing it in his pocket, he would have seen it tracking his route through the city. The software is meant for the cell phones of police, fire and military personnel -- not for thieves.

One possible reason why the San Francisco police may have responded so quickly is that the robber had mugged another women a short while earlier, so they knew this person was a repeat offender. When he was captured, he had her phone too.

I do not know how to obtain police reports. However, it must be possible, as I assume that is how the San Francisco Chronicle got the robber's name. The perpetrator was arrested fot Grand Larceny, and will likely go to jail, because even if we dropped the complaint (which we will not do, because it was not a stunt), the other person who was robbed will not. That's a heavy price to pay if this was really a stunt.

If I find out that the police report can be viewed on-line, I will post the URL. If anyone else knows how to do this, feel free to post it.

While it doesn't prove that the incident wasn't staged, I have attached a track of the robber's path after robbing the iPhone.

David Kahn

CalfCanuck
Jul 21, 2010, 05:08 PM
Why is it staged?

The Chronicle is the main news source for the San Franciso Bay Area (population 5-6 million). The reporter has worked for them for 10 years (google him). He interviewed the police, who said they booked the suspect for grand theft...

"Toure was captured a half-mile away about 10 minutes later, at 4:01 p.m., said police Sgt. Troy Dangerfield. He was booked into jail on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property."

People do stupid things all the time. A friend is a bank manager in Seattle, and told me he's had about 20 armed robberies, with an average take of $500.

Who's stupid enough to do armed robbery, with a high chance of capture and a 10-20 year sentence, for $500? Looks like at least 20 people were that stupid in his bank alone!

roland.g
Jul 21, 2010, 05:40 PM
I am glad my monitor is calibrated and I can see the white letters you used to create the step effect gooood job? now why not use space?

vB code takes the spaces out in most cases. And yes, depending on your monitor you can still see the letters though maybe you won't notice them on first glance. Of course it always shows up in a quote with the grey box.

We were in Florida and decided to walk next door to a grocery store after dinner. We arrived back at our hotel and soon realized that somehow between loading groceries into the car and strapping our son into his car seat, we forgot the diaper bag in the shopping cart which contained my new iPad 3G, our son's adoption papers and my hubby's wallet.
...

I am curious about this. I have found that it takes much longer to locate my iPad and sometimes it doesn't work at all with Find My iPhone even though my iPad is at home on our WiFi network, which led me to believe that for WiFi only versions it had to be awake and logged into a WiFi network. However, I have gotten it to find it when it was not awake, so who knows. That is certainly one advantage to having the 3G version, especially when it is not in range of a WiFi network. However, the additional price was not one I could justify.

Good story. Next time don't leave all that valuable stuff in a bag you aren't willing to shoulder. It's easy to think it's just a diaper bag and toss it in carts or elsewhere.

Rajani Isa
Jul 21, 2010, 06:10 PM
Seriously, how hard is it to turn off the damned thing?
From on a bike? A little tricky.
I'm sure it's real. I've seen stupider things done by thieves and after hearing stories from my police friends it's even more plausible.
And in this case it isn't being stupid, it's Murhphy - unless the lady was walking around with a sign on her head "I'm demoing a GPS tracker on my Phone!"

justinfreid
Jul 21, 2010, 06:32 PM
Suuuure. The only record of this "Horatio Toure" is in a blog associated with the San Francisco Chronicle (to say that it's actually in the Chronicle is a bit disingenuous)

It never happened. Horatio Toure doesn't exist.

He also has a Facebook profile with 1 friend.
This seems like a stunt to me, too.

justinfreid
Jul 21, 2010, 06:38 PM
Since this website has resulted in a lot of traffic to our website, I came here to see what's up. Here's what I can add:

The bicycle thief was just unlucky to have grabbed the iPhone during the demonstration. If he had looked at the phone, rather than stuffing it in his pocket, he would have seen it tracking his route through the city. The software is meant for the cell phones of police, fire and military personnel -- not for thieves.

One possible reason why the San Francisco police may have responded so quickly is that the robber had mugged another women a short while earlier, so they knew this person was a repeat offender. When he was captured, he had her phone too.

I do not know how to obtain police reports. However, it must be possible, as I assume that is how the San Francisco Chronicle got the robber's name. The perpetrator was arrested fot Grand Larceny, and will likely go to jail, because even if we dropped the complaint (which we will not do, because it was not a stunt), the other person who was robbed will not. That's a heavy price to pay if this was really a stunt.

If I find out that the police report can be viewed on-line, I will post the URL. If anyone else knows how to do this, feel free to post it.

While it doesn't prove that the incident wasn't staged, I have attached a track of the robber's path after robbing the iPhone.

David Kahn

Thanks - your response is very reasonable.

Torchwood
Jul 22, 2010, 07:32 AM
I know it seems staged, but things like this do really happen. Here's a link to my similar story that I just posted in the iPad thread.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=974043

nickane
Jul 22, 2010, 07:48 AM
Donal MacIntyre once tried to get mugged in Brixton by wandering around as a wealthy businessman in a suit, holding a laptop bag, pretending to be drunk, asking gangs of teens for directions and waving his smartphone around in their faces as if he was offering it to them.

It took until the second night before someone snatched his phone even though everyone I know who's lived in Brixton has been mugged at least once. No matter how prevalent crime is in an area, if you actually tried to get into trouble there, it probably wouldn't kick off quite as quickly as all those scenes in movies where someone is forced to go to a rough area dressed as an obvious target.

Faking a snatching, of course, is not a very smart idea either, especially in a country where the police are allowed to shoot you just for trying to escape.

Besides, as the man said himself, the app is not aimed at consumer security, but for the emergency services themselves, so the incident doesn't scream "PR stunt" quite as loudly as it first seems.

LobsterDK
Jul 22, 2010, 09:42 AM
You conspiracy theorist are a hoot. In order for this to be staged they would have had to either bribed law enforcement officials to play along or have hired someone who was willing to be charged with a felony and face potential jail thing for this alleged marketing stunt.

I swear, people seem to completely turn off their brains the moment they start posting **** on internet forums.

TheSlush
Jul 22, 2010, 09:51 AM
Apple obviously staged this whole thing for publicity, just like the iPhone 4 leak to Gizmodo! There IS NO Covia Labs, just like there WAS NO German beergarden! David Kahn and Jason Chen don't even exist, they're actually Apple admins! MUHAHAHAHA...

Ah, conspiracies...

kiljoy616
Jul 22, 2010, 06:26 PM
There are no words to comment about this story that would convey the big grin I have. :D

kiljoy616
Jul 22, 2010, 06:28 PM
Apple obviously staged this whole thing for publicity, just like the iPhone 4 leak to Gizmodo! There IS NO Covia Labs, just like there WAS NO German beergarden! David Kahn and Jason Chen don't even exist, they're actually Apple admins! MUHAHAHAHA...

Ah, conspiracies...

Its all the Illuminate fault and those dam lizard overlord from the center of the world they are all behind this. :eek:

kiljoy616
Jul 22, 2010, 06:29 PM
He also has a Facebook profile with 1 friend.
This seems like a stunt to me, too.

Why do you want to be a friend of a thief?

How do you know its him, do they have photos of they guy for you to verify?

TorontoLRT
Jul 22, 2010, 06:30 PM
If only this had happened to the people who stole my iPod Touch...

Rajani Isa
Jul 23, 2010, 03:19 AM
Faking a snatching, of course, is not a very smart idea either, especially in a country where the police are allowed to shoot you just for trying to escape.


Eh, they are however supposed to use intelligence. Shooting someone who just knifed a guy is one thing - a grab&go thief would be a different animal.

justinfreid
Jul 23, 2010, 10:45 PM
Why do you want to be a friend of a thief?

How do you know its him, do they have photos of they guy for you to verify?

I don't know the answer to either of your questions.

Put OS X on the desktop you list in your signature: http://www.osx86project.org/

TheSlush
Jul 24, 2010, 04:06 PM
Its all the Illuminate fault and those dam lizard overlord from the center of the world they are all behind this. :eek:

With help from the Freemasons!

GutBomb
Jul 25, 2010, 11:45 AM
You conspiracy theorist are a hoot. In order for this to be staged they would have had to either bribed law enforcement officials to play along or have hired someone who was willing to be charged with a felony and face potential jail thing for this alleged marketing stunt.

I swear, people seem to completely turn off their brains the moment they start posting **** on internet forums.

I don't believe any of it actually happened. No one stole a phone, no one was arrested, it was completely fabricated. Law enforcement was never involved. And it was not in "The Chronicle." It was a story on the "Crime Scene" blog on the chronicle's website.

zengod
Jul 26, 2010, 04:57 PM
Shame there is no remote tazer control built in to the iphone.

ansabakhan
Jul 27, 2010, 03:13 PM
Sounds like the thief should've just stayed with eBay transactions...

lol thats a good one !

Nba247365
Jul 30, 2010, 08:13 PM
Shame there is no remote tazer control built in to the iphone.

then apple would get sued again:rolleyes:

marshallbedsaul
Jul 31, 2010, 04:54 PM
S
ST
STA
STAG
STAGE
STAGED
STAGED.

Anything can "look" real if you want it to.
or we can choose to ignore that it my of really happened ?

patent10021
Aug 1, 2010, 08:26 PM
Alert and Respond website doesn't even have any video demonstrations or screen shots. Too bad. I'd like to see it.

BlondeBuddhist
Aug 2, 2010, 12:19 AM
I smell something fishy.

(insert crude comment here)

Blonde Buddhist

amandapanda801
Aug 2, 2010, 10:18 AM
Haha this is great