Apple AirTag Helps Bust Grave Robbers Responsible for $62K in Thefts

Apple AirTag Credit: Nikita Ognev / Unsplash
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Tired of having their uncle’s gravesite repeatedly robbed, a Texas family used a hidden Apple AirTag to catch the low-life criminals in the act. In addition to foiling the grave robbers, the AirTag also helped police find more than $62,000 of stolen bronze memorial vases.

The AirTag is a small device sold by Apple that allows users to keep track of objects, including purses, keychains, briefcases, and more.

In an interview with KPRC Click2Houston, Tony Velazquez said that his uncle’s gravesite at Restwood Memorial Park in Clute, Texas, had been repeatedly robbed. Each time, the thieves stole a $600 bronze memorial vase marking the grave.

In an effort to foil the bad actors, Velazquez placed an AirTag inside one of the replacement vases, just in case the thieves repeated the theft. Unlike some Apple users who have tried to use an AirTag to track the bad guys on their own, Velazquez wisely provided the AirTag information to the authorities, who were able to track the stolen vase to an address about 45 minutes away, where it was found with 102 other vases.

Authorities arrested the bad guys, who were charged with stealing the vases over the course of two months.

Clute Police Chief James Fitch said the thieves had planned to score a quick buck by selling the vases to a local scrap yard.

They had actually tried to take the entire vases to a scrap yard. They turned them down luckily.James Fitch, Clute Police Chief

This is just the latest instance of Apple AirTags foiling bad actors’ plans.

A report from Chicago’s WGN says an AirTag led to the arrest of two thieves that had stolen $1.1 million from a Brinks truck. The tracking device had been hidden in one of the money bins.

In 2022 the United States Drug Enforcement Agency planted an AirTag in a shipment of illegal drug-making paraphernalia from China to an illegal narcotics vendor in the US. A retired detective told Forbes that an AirTag “can be hidden easier and is less likely to be found by suspects,” adding “Suspects are getting better at countersurveillance techniques.”

Unfortunately, not everyone contacts the police, with some preferring to take matters into their own hands.

A Texas man in March tracked his stolen truck using an AirTag he had hidden in the vehicle. After tracking his stolen vehicle, the man alerted police about the theft but did not wait for them to arrive. Instead, he confronted the alleged thief, shooting and killing him.

Earlier this month, Mexican journalist Pamela Cerdeira used AirTags to prove that the Mexican government was mishandling donations intended for earthquake victims in Turkey. Instead of being shipped to Turkey, the items donated by well-meaning folks were instead being sold in Mexican markets.

Cerdeira donated two items with AirTags secreted in them, as she wanted to track them and see where the items were actually sent. Neither of the items — rice and a pack of toilet rolls — made it to Turkey, never leaving Mexico’s borders.

Sadly, AirTags are also being used for less-than-honorable purposes.

An Indianapolis man died after being run over multiple times by a vehicle allegedly driven by his jealous girlfriend. The girlfriend, Gaylyn Morris, used an Apple AirTag to track her boyfriend, Andre Smith, to Tilly’s Pub in Indianapolis where she observed him hanging out with another woman.

Smith was then hit multiple times by a car outside the pub. When emergency services arrived, they discovered him under the vehicle. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

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