Special Report: To Catch a Smartphone Thief


by Shari Dunn

MILWAUKEE -- They're snatching phones off of trains, they're snatching iPads off of planes. But thanks to tracking software everyday people are fighting back and tracking down the thieves. One man even pretended to be a woman who wanted to date the man who stole his phone. And another man went all out when he and his friend used the tracking software to find the man who stole his phone. They found the phone but not until a brawl broke out. But police say don't try this at home and officer Kupsik from the Milwaukee Police Department says "I would discourage confronting anyone who's taken your device or using one of those apps to contact the person it's something the police
should do."

Both men found their phone with software such as the iPhones' find my phone. Using the software you turn on the find my iPhone button on your phone or another phone, you log onto a computer and then click find my phone. The phone appears on a map and you can remotely lock your phone, send a message to the person who stole it and wipe your phone of all data.

But again  police say  leave the tracking of the bad guys to them, and it's something the Milwaukee Police Department has experience doing.

Officer Joseph Carlson used that technology when he responded to a report of a strong armed robbery at a gas station on 12th and Highland in Milwaukee. A man was pumping  gas at the station when the assailant punched him and took his wallet and iPhone.

Officer Carlson says that, "he gave us a brief description of the guy which my partner put out. During that time frame I was downloading the application where's my iPhone on my own phone and he logged on and it was able to locate his phone that was not to far from here."

In fact once the call when out another unit police pick up the iPhone thief at a nearby Walgreens.

Officer Carlson says that one thing the victim did wrong was have is phone on him while he was pumping gas. Another piece of advice don't wear one of those side holsters, it's too easy for a thief to just snatch and go.

And officer Kupsik says don't get distracted, "anytime somebody is distracted they make themselves more of a target to someone looking to steal from them."

So that's why the Milwaukee Police Department has come out with smart tips for your smart device.

So how can you protect your phone? Have it password locked, have remote wiping so you can remove all your files if you can't get the phone back and contact the police. Above all don't take matters into your own hands because it might not end so well.


Should employers be able to ask applicants for social media log in information?

  • Yes
  • No