Denton police say tracking software on a stolen iPad led them to three suspects.
A car owner reported that an iPad 2, a revolver and other items had been stolen from his unlocked car in the 2300 block of Ranch House Drive.
There were indications that other vehicles in the area had also been burglarized, Denton police spokesman Officer Ryan Grelle said.
While the items are often not recovered in stolen property cases, officers got a break when they returned to the office.
"At some point in time, as they're typing up the report, they get a phone call from the victim saying, hey, his iPad is now turned on," Grelle said.
The victim was using an application that tracks the location of his iPad. Police said they do not know which app the victim used.
Apple's Find My iPad app is built into most of its devices. The app, which uses the company's iCloud service, allows users who have turned on "track my device" mode to map on a computer where the device is at any time.
The victim's app led officers to an apartment in the 1800 block of Jason Drive. When officers knocked on the door, they found what they were looking for -- and more.
"In plain view was a lot of the stuff they had actually stolen," Grelle said.
The officers got a warrant and arrested three of the four people in the apartment.
Deray Lashun Thomas, Michael Scott Freeman and Kristopher Ray Giccatti, all 19, were arrested and charged with organized criminal activity.
Grelle said the case offers two lessons: Lock your car doors and use your technology.
"This is the age of technology," he said.
Taking steps such as turning on iPad tracking can help officers do their job even better if the device is stolen.
"If you've got it, go ahead and use it; turn it on," Grelle said. "Help us close that case and get the property back to the rightful owners."