Crime Stories March 6, 2018

AirPods remain a hot commodity even a year later, but they’re definitely not worth unemployment. Unfortunately, it sounds like a New Orleans police officer may have miscalculated that equation during a recent Apple Store visit…

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Crime Stories February 19, 2016

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An 18-year-old girl reportedly kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend has been safely rescued by police after her mother tracked her location using Find My iPhoneCNBC reports that the victim was found more than 150 miles away from home.

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Crime Stories January 28, 2016

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Anyone who has ever accidentally left behind their iPhone or iPad in a public place like a coffee shop will know the sinking feeling in your stomach the moment you realize you’ve done it. Even if you rush back just one or two minutes later, you know there’s a high chance that the device will be gone.

If the worst happens, and you have another device with you, Find My iPhone lets you track the stolen device – except thieves tend to know this, and all they have to do to prevent it is to power-down their ill-gotten gains. This can be done while the device is locked, with no Touch ID or passcode access needed …

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Crime Stories October 31, 2014

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While Touch ID makes sense for most of us as a secure and convenient way to protect our phones, there is one group of people who may want to stick to good old-fashioned passcodes: criminals.

A Virginia District Court has ruled that while phone passcodes are protected by the 5th Amendment, which says that those accused of crimes cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves, there is no such protection against using a suspect’s fingerprint to unlock a phone …  expand full story

Crime Stories August 13, 2014

Murder suspect really did ask Siri for advice on hiding a body

One of the best-known Siri easter eggs is its response to the question “Where’s a good place to hide a body?” Siri’s usual response was to ask “What kind of place are you looking for? Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps.”

In a story you really couldn’t make up, Kirotv reports that ‘a Florida man’ on trial for a 2012 murder seriously did ask Siri for this advice, according to evidence presented in court yesterday.

New evidence presented Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of killing his roommate showed he apparently asked Siri on his iPhone, “I need to hide my roommate.”

Pedro Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar in 2012.

The Huffington Post reports that the query no longer works, but trying it myself today, the response I got from Siri was “What, again?”.

It was reported in June that Apple is looking to replace Siri’s Nuance-powered back-end, while the former Siri team are working on a next-generation virtual personal assistant.

Update: Bravo’s lawyer argued in court that while the query was made out on the defendant’s phone, it was not done on the night of the murder and is ‘not evidence’ that Bravo was the one who made it. The detective in the case agreed.

Crime Stories July 29, 2014

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You wouldn’t think it would be easy to use a debit card on a closed account to scam an Apple Store out of around $7200’s worth of kit, but that’s what a 24-year-old fraudster is alleged to have done not just once but a total of 42 times – netting a total haul worth $309,768.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the East Tampa resident Sharron Parrish used an absurdly simple method to persuade Apple Store staff to override payment terminals after his transactions were declined …  expand full story

Crime Stories June 18, 2014

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When Apple introduced the new Activation Lock anti-theft system with iOS 7 to help prevent the re-use of stolen iOS devices, some lawmakers saw it as the perfect way to help quell smartphone theft. In fact, many sought to make features like it standard on all mobile devices. Today, the New York Times has released some new numbers that shows a decrease in iPhone theft following the implementation of Activation Lock.

According to New York police, thefts involving Apple products have dropped by 19% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. London and San Francisco authorities have seen even more impressive drops, with 24% and 38% reductions in iOS device thefts, respectively, in the six months following the feature’s release when compared to the six months immediately preceding it.

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Crime Stories May 29, 2014

Crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app Tapshield goes public

A crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app trialled on selected university campuses has now been rolled out to everyone. Tapshield allows real-time viewing of crime stats and suspicious activity in an area, and allows you to summon help when in trouble.

An award-winning mobile safety app and response dashboard, TapShield uses collaboration and crowd-sourcing to build safer communities & improve response times. Think of TapShield as your social safety network with you wherever you want to go.

The way the app works is that users can report crimes in progress and anything else they spot that concerns them, and those locations and incidents are then automatically shown to other Tapshield users in the area.

When a crime is reported, Tapshield sends a message to campus security when used within one of the participating colleges, and dials 911 when used elsewhere. You also have the option of sending a non-emergency alert to police when you see something that concerns you but which doesn’t justify an immediate emergency response – such as a bunch of street lights out, leaving a path in darkness.

If you have to make a journey that concerns you, you can specify your route and ETA and allow family and friends to follow your journey remotely, raising the alarm if you go off-route or don’t reach your destination when expected.

Finally, the app has a ‘yank’ mode, which automatically sends an alert if headphones are forcibly pulled from the device, such as when your phone is snatched by a thief.

Tapshield is a free download from iTunes.

Via TheNextWeb

Crime Stories December 23, 2013

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Bild.de reports that thieves crashed an Opel Corsa into the Apple Store in Berlin in the early hours, stealing display model iPhones, iPads and Macs. Six thieves were said to have carried out the smash and grab at 4.15am before escaping in two Audis.

There have been seven such burglaries in Berlin recently, including one at the electronics chain Media Markt, where the thieves made off with goods worth €100,000 ($137,000).

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Crime Stories September 10, 2013

Find My Phone tracks stolen car with 5yo child inside it, allowing police to intercept

A stolen SUV with a five-year-old boy in it was successfully intercepted by police in northwest Houston last night after the child’s father used the Find My Phone feature on his iPad to track an iPhone in the car.

The father had left his son in the car while he ran into a store, when it was stolen.

“The father had an iPad that he’d taken in with him and he utilized that iPad with the iPhone that was in the car and was able to track it,” said Lt. Wayne Schultz with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. “And the information was provided from our deputies to our dispatch, that was able to be communicated through the Harris County Sheriff’s Office dispatch also and they were able to get information out to the troops in the field to where we could disseminate information in almost a real-time environment to put it out to guys who were looking for the vehicle with the child in it.”

Police stopped the SUV 15 minutes later and re-united the child, who was unharmed, with his father. The suspect was arrested.

While we might raise an eyebrow at leaving a  5yo child in a car on his own, credit has to be given for having the presence of mind in such circumstances to use Find My Phone in such stressful circumstances.

Crime Stories March 19, 2013

Police arrest Polish gypsy crime ring targeting Apple/electronics stores responsible for $3M in loot

SiliconValley.com reported police in Torrance, Calif. have arrested four suspects claiming to be part of a “Gypsy family” from Poland that is responsible for targeting Apple retail stores and other electronics retailers across the country. The group is accused of stealing around $3 million in property over the last year, and police have so far recovered more than $20,000 worth of Apple products:

The suspected thieves arrested March 8 in Hawthorne are believed responsible for 17 crimes at Apple (AAPL) stores in Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Canoga Park, Glendale, Brea, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine, along with a MacMall in Torrance, a Microsoft store in Mission Viejo, and other businesses across Los Angeles and Orange counties, including Best Buy, Costco, PetSmart, Sam’s Club, Sports Authority and Wal-Mart, Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt said.

During the crime and others like it, the men would stand in a position to block employees from seeing the women behind them. The men selected items from shelves and passed it to the women, who would hide it inside their oversized dresses and overcoats, and purses, Watt said.

Once the suspects were arrested, police recovered more than $20,000 worth of Apple products, Watt said.

Crime Stories December 26, 2012

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The Marion Police Department in Virginia have decided to encourage residents to report crime by releasing a new app called “iWatch Marion“. The app is available for free on the App Store and provides citizens with an easy way to report potential crimes by uploading tips, photos, and video. Content uploaded by users is forwarded directly to the police department closest to the location the tip was sent from:

Because iWatch Marion uses global positioning technology, the system intelligently forwards information to the Howard County Police Department based on where the handheld device is physically located at any given moment.

The app will also allow users to receive alerts for missing children, crime, weather, and more. I’m not sure if major cities will jump on the idea of encouraging citizens to get involved in crimes in progress, but it’s something that more and more smaller towns are starting to take advantage of. expand full story

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