AirTag Helps Dutch Woman Track Bicycle and Nab Thief

AirTag Leather Keychain Credit: Adam Elements
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Apple’s AirTag has once again come to the rescue, this time helping a woman in the Netherlands track and recover her stolen bike.

Beatriz Spaltemberg and her husband, William Lacerda, are both citizens of the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Lacerda told 9to5Mac that bike thefts are on the rise in the city, so he decided to play it safe and hide an AirTag on each of their bikes.

Spaltemberg went to the gym, as she often does, leaving her bike outside. Unfortunately, while she had locked the bike, she had left the key there, providing the opportunity for a larcenous individual to take advantage of her miscue and steal the bike.

When she left [the gym] an hour or so later, the bike was gone.William Lacerda

After discovering her bike was missing, Spaltemberg opened the Find My app on her iPhone, allowing her to see her bicycle’s location in near-real time. The couple immediately contacted local law enforcement to report the situation. When Lacerda told the officers that they knew where the bike was, two officers accompanied them to that location.

Upon arriving at the location shown in the Find My app, they found the stolen bike exactly where the app indicated. Spaltemberg and Lacerda then needed to use the AirTag’s Precision Finding feature to prove that it was indeed Spaltemberg’s bike, since the thief had locked it to a lamp post. Although the thief wasn’t in the area, the police were able to determine who stole the bike by collecting recordings from street cameras.

“It all happened in about an hour and a half. The police officer told me that we were very lucky to have an AirTag [on the bike] because bike thefts are common here, and usually, they only make a police report for such situations,” said Lacerda. He also said that the AirTag was “very well hidden,” which is likely why the thief didn’t suspect they were being tracked.

This isn’t the first time that Apple’s AirTag has helped foil robbery-minded individuals.

In June, a Texas family that was tired of dealing with their uncle’s gravesite being repeatedly robbed hid an Apple AirTag in the grave’s memorial vase to track the scummy individuals responsible for the act. In addition to catching the grave robbers, police also discovered a stash of bronze memorial vases worth over $62,000 that had been stolen from other graves.

In July, the staff of a Myrtle Beach tavern foiled a thief that had hit a string of bars and restaurants in the area, cracking safes and stealing cash. The staff of the Sneaky Beagle set the thief up for arrest by placing a stuffed bear with a hidden AirTag inside a “decoy safe.”

52-year-old Samuel Smith took the bait and stole the teddy bear-filled safe. The AirTag later led authorities to Smith’s home and helped police connect him to other robberies in the area. Police arrested Smith, charging him with nine counts of second-degree burglary.

Unfortunately, AirTags have also been used for more sinister purposes. In February, a Tennessee man was jailed after using an Apple AirTag to stalk his wife. Carlos Atkins was charged with “electronic tracking of a motor vehicle.” Atkins allegedly hid an AirTag in his ex-wife’s car so he could track the vehicle and place roses on it.

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