Police arrest two after using free app to track stolen phone

Everyone likes an appy ending, and that’s what happened when two techno-savvy Havering policemen recovered a teen’s stolen phone using the device’s free tracking app - and arrested two suspected robbers in the process.

Thieves took the 15-year-old’s �500 iphone 4GS and some cash in Hall Lane, Upminster, at around 3.20pm on December 27, after befriending the youngster at Upminster railway station.

But the suspected crooks were caught less than an hour later when Havering Pcs Peter Stallard and Nicholas Tunge activated the stolen mobile’s ‘Find My iphone’ tracking device, which the boy had recently installed.

The app, which can be downloaded from Apple’s website, sends out a signal from the phone and can be traced by computer to a street using Google maps.

“While we were doing a search of the area by car with the victim, we contacted a colleague over the radio who used his phone to tell us the movements of the victim’s,” said Pc Stallard.

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“We just thought ‘we have a good chance to get these guys straight away’”.

The officers, accompanied by the youngster from Grays, Essex, raced by car to New Road, Dagenham, where the victim spotted his attackers on the street and the policemen gave chase.

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One suspect was arrested immediately and the other was found hiding in a garden shed soon after by the dog squad and helicopter support.

“It was a fantastic result and a great team effort,” said Pc Stallard, 33. “The boy and his family were really appreciative and it gave them reassurance that police do go that extra mile for victims of crime.”

He added: “The app is amazing, but we advise people to always contact the police when using it to find a stolen phone.”

It is the first time the app has successfully been used to catch suspected phone thieves in Havering, Pc Stallard said.

A 17 year old youth and a 19 year old man have been charged with robbery and bailed to return to Basildon Crown Court on March 16.

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