Apple’s Find My iPhone feature is most commonly used to find lost or misplaced devices, but it can come in handy if those devices are stolen, too.
Case in point: an iPad that was taken from a home burglary in Spokane, Washington last month helped lead to the arrest of one of the men who had stolen it, according to local media reports.
Spokane resident Lisa Wilson was at the store with her daughter on Jan. 25 when men broke into her home by kicking in the back door, KHQ reported.
“I never thought that someone would break into my house. Like, where I love, where my children are,” Wilson told KHQ. “Like a place you’re supposed to feel safe.”
The thieves made off with “thousands of dollars” worth of jewelry, electronics, and a priceless family heirloom — Wilson’s vintage engagement ring from the 1920s. But one of the electronics stolen happened to be an iPad.
When that iPad was switched on, Wilson received an alert on her iPhone with a location. The Spokane woman quickly shared that information with local detectives signed to her case.
Police were able to arrest one of the thieves, 38-year-old Donald Myhren. They connected him to the burglary through various evidence they collected, as well as surveillance footage from a home camera at Wilson’s house.
Myhren is reportedly a repeat offender. He has 24 prior felony convictions, including 16 for residential burglary.
While local media reports didn’t specify which feature helped lead to Myhren’s arrest, it was most likely the “Notify me when found” option in the Find My iPhone app.
Find My iPhone can’t locate a stolen or lost device if it is offline or internet connectivity is disabled. But if a user selects “Notify me when found,” the app will automatically send a notification to the user if and when that device does happen to connect to the internet.
Detectives were able to recover much of the property that was stolen from Wilson’s house. Unfortunately, her irreplaceable engagement ring was not among the recovered items.
When Wilson learned about Myhren’s prior record, she told KHQ that criminals like him need stiffer punishments.
“They know they’re going to get out, so they keep committing crimes because there are no repercussions,” she said.