"Find My iPhone" Finds Suspected Thief - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

"Find My iPhone" Finds Suspected Thief

Richardson woman uses modern technology to find stolen cellphone



    A Richardson dental hygienist used the "Find My iPhone" feature to track her stolen cellphone to a specific parking space at a nearby hotel and help police make an arrest.

    Susan Rucker was at work Monday morning when she realized her iPhone was missing from the table in a conference room where she had left it.

    "So I'm like, 'OK, did I forget it in my car?'" she said.

    She quickly figured a stranger who had wandered into the dentist's office had stolen it.

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    But she had a plan to find it.

    "I had my iPad, because he did not take that," she said. "There's an app on there, 'Find your IPhone.'"

    The feature, which can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet, uses GPS technology to pinpoint the phone's exact location on a map.

    She called Richardson police, and officers began trying to catch up to it.

    "Her phone was on the move, literally," Officer Lee Rhinebarger.

    Rucker's co-worker, Tanya Scruggins, gave the officer updates on the phone's location.

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    "[I] just watched the cellphone kind of move around on the map," Scruggins said.

    Finally, the signal stopped at a hotel parking lot down Central Expressway.

    "The cellphone was right there in that parking spot," Scruggins said, pointing to the map.

    Another feature adds a satellite picture to the map's street view.

    She listened on the cellphone as the officer confronted the suspect.

    "I heard him go in and he said, 'Empty your pockets,'" Scruggins said. "And the next thing you hear is, 'Put your hands on your head.' And I was like, 'Yeah! They got him!'"

    The suspect, Kevin Smith, 50, was arrested on a theft charge.

    "We want to surprise the criminals," Rhinebarger said. "We want to take them to jail. The officers love taking bad guys to jail. That's what we do."

    Officers returned Rucker's cellphone -- and her boss's cellphone, which was also stolen.

    "It was pretty cool," Rucker said.

    Rhinebarger said it was a mix of quick police work and modern technology.

    "We recommend the use of the programs for this reason," he said. "It's not just iPhones, it's for all smartphones. There are programs for Android out there. Anything you want to find, you can install this program. I actually use it myself on my phone."

    Rucker said she is grateful to get her phone back.

    "It was amazing. It was like TV, you know," she said.