Unlucky Thief Steals iPhone Used in GPS Tracking Tests

Thief steals iPhone being used to test real-time GPS tracking program, but is caught 10 minutes later.

I should be so lucky! What are the odds that your iPhone is stolen during a demo showing how to track a phone's location in real time?

I should be so lucky! What are the odds that your iPhone is stolen during a demo showing how to track a phone's location in real time?

In perhaps what was one of the unluckiest moves of his career as a petty thief, Horatio Toure stole an iPhone on Monday afternoon. The irony? The iPhone Toure stole was being used to demonstrate a program that tracks GPS location in real-time--it took the police all of ten minutes to pin down his exact location and arrest him.

Thirty-one year-old Toure, a resident of San Francisco, was riding his bicycle down a street in the South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood when he happened upon a young woman with a loose grip on her iPhone. He rode his bicycle up next to her, snatched the iPhone out of her hands (perhaps she was holding it loosely in order to retain full reception?), and rode away.

Unfortunately for Toure, the young woman happened to be Jordan Sturm, an assistant at Covia Labs of Mountain View--a company that designs communications technology. Sturm was, in fact, wandering the streets of San Francisco because she was demonstrating a new product called "Alert & Respond"--an app on the iPhone designed to track her GPS location in real time.

David Kahn, CEO of Covia Labs, was but minutes away from Sturm, in an office building, demonstrating to his Public Relations team how he could track Sturm's location from a laptop. Toure chose this exact moment--as Kahn and his PR team were watching Sturm's dot move across the screen--to swoop in and snatch the iPhone.

Suddenly, it appeared as though Sturm was hightailing it down the road.

But, of course, she wasn't--she was hightailing it back to the office so she could call the police. The app worked well enough that Sturm was able to give the police the thief's exact location--and Toure was intercepted about ten minutes later, and arrested on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property.

Despite its usefulness in this particular situation, Alert & Respond is not actually intended to catch iPhone thieves--rather, it's designed for police and the military (to track officers and other persons). The software has other features, which Kahn considered using--such as turning on the phone's camera to remotely take a photo, or turning on the phone's microphone to remotely record what is being said. Kahn decided not to use these features in this particular chase, lest the thief realize that he was being tracked.

"This reminds me of the bank robber who arrives during the security test," Kahn told The San Francisco Chronicle, "What are the odds that you would grab someone's cell phone during a demonstration of the ability to track a phone's location in real time?"

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesAppleGPSconsumer electronicsapple iphoneGPS technology

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?