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Apps Lead Police To Stolen Smart Phones

A man operates an iPhone (Photo credit:ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A man operates an iPhone (Photo credit:ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Want to find your stolen iPhone?

As WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports, there’s an app for that, and Chicago Police are using it.

Thieves targeting smart phone users on the Chicago Transit Authority may find themselves electronically handcuffed by apps such as “Find My iPhone” and “Where’s My Droid?”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

Over 300 Chicago Police officers have been trained by Apple employees to pinpoint stolen iPhones, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The new method paid off this past March, when a 42-year-old woman from New Zealand was robbed of her iPhone and got it back, the Sun-Times pointed out.

The woman was on the subway train at the Roosevelt stop, when a teenage girl swiped her iPhone. The woman caught the girl at the Jackson stop and tackled her with the help of another CTA passenger at the Jackson stop.

The girl, Whitney Martin, 17, is charged with felony robbery. She allegedly told police she didn’t take the phone, but police found it in her shirt after using the “Find My iPhone” app, police said.

The Sun-Times reports more than 700 electronic devices have been stolen on the CTA over the last two years, although robberies are down almost 40 percent so far this year.

In one of the most infamous cases, a teenage boy stole an iPhone from a woman on a Brown Line train in September 2010, and knocked a woman down the stairs at the busy Fullerton ‘L’ stop as he fled.

The woman, Sally Katona-King, 68, was pronounced dead the next day. Prince Watson, 17, was charged about six months later with first-degree murder, and with stealing cell phones on other occasions a the Sedgwick Brown Line and Clark-Division Red Line stops.

Cell phone companies are working on a database of ID numbers that should make stolen phones easier to trace and harder to resell, the Sun-Times reported.