Two suspect in a robbery were apprehended two hours after the student reported the theft of his iPhone because of a cell phone application Friday.
A male USC student on the 2300 block of Portland Street was held at knifepoint while walking and listening to music on his phone. The victim called DPS right after the robbery.
The Dept. of Public Safety used a GPS tracking device on the cell phone through the MobileMe app to find the suspects.
The phone was tracked from the DPS office while a joint LAPD-DPS team went to find the location of the phone. The suspects were found walking on the 1100 block of Pico Avenue a few miles from USC campus, DPS. Capt. David Carlisle said.
“Besides good detective work, the fact is that technology was a major factor in this investigation,” Carlisle said. “Without a smartphone, it would have made recovering it very difficult. It would have taken a lot of leg work, and there is no guarantee this crime would have ever been solved.”
Carlisle recommends students download tracking apps because they can be useful tools during an investigation.
“Students, most of whom have smartphones, may want to take the time to download [tracking] apps,” Carlisle said. “In the event that they lose it or it’s stolen, it would aid investigators in the recovery of property, and this case, in the possession of the suspects.”
The success of the tracking device in the robbery has motivated others to download tracking apps on their phones.
“This incident definitely inspires me, not just so that I can get my phone or computer back but also so that police are able to find criminals more easily,” said Mallorie Maranda, a sophomore majoring in psychology..
MobileMe is an Internet service from Apple that syncs your Mac or PC with your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with emails, contacts and calendar events and also enables you to locate your missing devices. iPhone users can activate MobileMe to download the Find My iPhone app without purchasing MobileMe services.
The Find My iPhone app allows iPhone owners to track the location of their phone using Google Maps, send a message to a possible finder and erase all information on their iPhone.
David Samson, a junior majoring in business administration, said that having a tracking app on a smartphone is essential.
“This technology is the future,” Samson said. “Human error, like leaving your cell phone on a park bench, combined with technology and the ability to find your phone is incredible.”