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Although the anti-stalking features Apple has built into its AirTags are far from perfect, they do work more often than not — as long as folks are paying attention.
Such is the case of a woman in Goshen, Connecticut, who was alerted to an AirTag on her vehicle last February, leading police to determine the identity of the person who placed it there — and then take nearly a year to actually track him down.
According to WTNH News 8, the Connecticut woman received several alerts on her iPhone that an unknown device was moving with her in February 2023, but she initially believed they were coming from a set of AirPods left in her vehicle by a relative. While it’s unclear if that was the case then, she decided to take a closer look when she received another notification on March 24, 2023.
According to CT Insider, the woman spent two hours searching her car with the help of a relative before she uncovered an AirTag “attached to the inside of her vehicle’s driver’s side front wheel rim with an adhesive substance.” She had no idea who put it there, but she removed it, put it in a plastic bag, and then contacted the local police, Troop B in North Canaan.
“The complainant further explained to the investigating Trooper that these events had caused her to fear for her personal safety and that of her family members,” state police said.
Apple has always made it explicitly clear that it will happily turn over information on an AirTag’s owner to law enforcement agencies should the need arise. Since each AirTag needs to be associated with an Apple ID to do its thing, the registered owner can be gleaned from the unique serial number found on each AirTag.
Police contacted Apple and discovered the AirTag belonged to a 33-year-old man named Anthony Magro, who had a last known address in Torrington. The name was a mystery to the woman, who indicated that she didn’t know him and had never had any interactions with him.
The news report doesn’t offer any insight into why Magro would have planted an AirTag on the woman’s car — she could have been a random stalking target, or he may have been “tagging” her car as a potential theft target. Either way, it seems the police had no idea either, and they took an unusually long time to track Magro down to try and figure it out.
Magro had moved on from his last known Torrington address, and when police contacted him in May, he explained that he’d relocated to Bridgeport, Connecticut, approximately 70 miles away, and was unable to meet with police as he didn’t drive.
Despite efforts to locate Magro at his Torrington address, investigators were met with dead ends. On May 8, 2023, they made contact with Magro who explained that he relocated to Bridgeport. When police attempted to make arrangements to meet Magro, he said that he did not drive and would need transportation.WTNH News 8
While the police likely had more serious matters on their hands, it’s still surprising that they didn’t catch up with Margo until this week, when they established contact with him in West Haven, Connecticut, about 30 miles outside of New Canaan. They had an active warrant for his arrest by then and took him into custody, where he was later released on a $10,000 cash/surety bond. He’s scheduled for arraignment at Torrington Superior Court on February 16.
CT Insider notes that Magro was charged under Connecticut’s electronic stalking law, which was amended a few years ago to classify the offense as a felony rather than merely a misdemeanor. Many other states have made similar revisions to their laws as stalking with electronic devices like AirTags becomes a more severe problem, ensuring that perpetrators of these crimes can’t just walk away with impunity.