Victim: iPhone ‘Tracker’ Did Its Job, But Police Did Not

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago woman says it happened in minutes. She was walking home when a purse snatcher grabbed her and pulled her down the sidewalk.

As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, what the suspect didn’t know is the iPhone in her purse had tracking software called “Find My iPhone”. The alleged victim tracked the suspect because, she says, police wouldn’t help.

“All of a sudden he ran towards me. Knocked me down while he grabbed my purse,” said Katherine Smith, “Then dragged me by my left arm because I couldn’t get the purse off fast enough.”

Neighbors called police, and Smith and her husband began tracking the suspect with “Find My IPhone.” The app uses a GPS signal to show phone owners where their phone is in real time.

The Smiths say they used the app to track the phone to a gas station at Pulaski and Division where they say the suspect was buying $100 worth of gas. The couple thinks the fuel was purchased with their money.

The couple says police arrived at their home within minutes, but did nothing after that.

“The cops didn’t seem very concerned or take a proactive stance and try to go out and do something,” said Katherine Smith.

“We showed them exactly where the criminal was on the map. Said he’s right here. And they did not go there. They didn’t call anyone. They didn’t send anyone,” said husband Kyle Smith.

So, the Smith’s say they did their own investigation and evenutally found the phone at a nearby cell phone store. They say the suspect sold the phone there. Police did arrive to help them get their phone back. But the Smiths want police to pull surveillance video from the store and from the gas station, so they might be able to make an arrest.

Police have not responded, so far, to our request for information on the case. The couple says they never found the stolen purse.

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  • jim

    Is this behavior acceptable to the new Police Chief and Mayor of Chicago? If this same incident happened to one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s family members, would he mind the police not doing anything when given an opportunity to find the criminal as the public had informed the police, So, is ok now to steal and drag people down the street in daylight, this is absurd. These innocent people that got robbed should sue the city for a million dollars and send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated any more.

    • citizens

      i agreed. take action and sue the city of chicago or the police department.

  • MEP

    Is this another instance of the inmates running the asylum?

  • Aaron

    This is typical CPD stuff. They arn’t conceerned about doing their jobs, just collecting a paycheck.

  • Vicky

    Would be cool if you could hit a button and you could blow up your iPhone from a remote location…..lololol! Surprise! The cell phone store doesn’t take any i.d. from sellers? I thought pawn shops took your i.d. when you bring in stuff…….

  • Vicky

    Face it: Chicago cops are pretty much worthless…..yet the city wants to take away your constitutional right to bear arms. Wonder if Daley’s security detail will be armed, since he dislikes guns so much?

  • JeanSC

    The other day I was walking on the sidewalk when an adult riding a bicycle on the sidewalk went the other direction. Moments later a marked squad car went by in the same direction as the adult bicyclist. The driver’s window was open. I called out to the officer and asked him to get the bicyclist off the sidewalk. The officer clearly wasn’t answering a call – just normal patrol driving. But he waved to me and did nothing about the bicyclist. He couldn’t even be bothered to say something to him about the law requiring the bike to be ridden in the street here. I’ve found that adults who ride bikes on Chicago sidewalks in violation of the law all have nasty attitudes about it; some even hit pedestrians with their hands or their bikes. If a cop is too burned out he can’t even jawbone these dangerous scofflaws, he should be fired. It seems there are too many Chicago cops who are just seeking “the big collar” and can’t be bothered with “minor things” like strongarm robbery and bikes on sidewalks. They condemn all neighborhoods to deteriorating safety conditions.

  • GO Southside

    Hey didn’t the police wants us to take a photo with our cell phones of any crime we re witnessing and text it to them? Well one better we can help them do their jobs too.

  • GO Southside


  • Patrick Smith

    So, these are my cousins. When they told me what happened I was immediately motivated to act. There have been many instances in my 27 years in Chicago where I have been victimized with petty crime and found the CPD bureaucracy unwelcoming. Be it a home burglary, stolen bike, or a few smash and grabs, it seemed to me that burglars and robbers have free reign in this city as long as they know which hours the police are too busy doing other stuff, or eating. But now, the same technology that was stolen, then sold to a mobile phone store 20 minutes later, could have made the task of catching the criminal much, much, easier.

    The solution:

    We demand a response from CPD. The only adequate response is a press release to all CPD officers and all Chicago residents that explains the protocol for this exact situation. Anything less than a commitment to using this technology for the benefit of the victim is not a solution.

  • Patrick Smith

    Left out this: After I found out what had happened to my cousins I immediately contacted CBS, NBC,ABC, FOX, my alderman, my senator and the better government association. My advice is when something pushed you to the point of exasperation, speak out loudly in the case someone will broadcast it.

  • Patrick Smith

    Final word here after reading all the comments preceding……

    It is my honest opinion that Chicago Cops are not worthless. Many of them are good at their jobs but this is a clear example of where public pressure/corporate pressure from AAPL,(or creators of mobile me tracking software)/political pressure could really achieve something. There is a tool available. Let’s do whatever we can to facilitate the CPD using this tool.

  • FugFuu

    POlice are too busy stuffing their faces with donuts and harassing motorists to care about real criminals.

  • Tyron jackson

    I work at s.side, I deal with cops all the time, they show up after like an hour and if they really have to arrest someone,they take them in their police car and drop them off like few blocks down… Next thing u know that same guy in my property again…

  • Amy

    I had a similar incident when my bike was stolen. I had evidence for the police, yet nothing was done. I volunteer to watch the surveillance cameras etc, but no.
    Very frustrating. JUST SO GLAD YOU ARE OK!

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