A HANDY mobile app which uses satellite tracking is giving New England North West police another tool in the fight against crime, sometimes with quick and spectacular results.
In ta recent incident, a Tamworth resident investigating the source of noises in his room, found his bedroom door open and a small amount of property stolen, including his iPhone 4.
After contacting Tamworth police, the man activated an app called Find My iPhone, which pinpoints the exact location of the phone via GPS satellite tracking and the location was sent to police units on patrol that night.
Attending the address, police spoke to a man who later eluded officers, but a search of the area found a bag containing the missing items from the break-in, including the phone, tossed under a bush nearby.
Tamworth crime prevention officer Tracey Freeman said the free app was like a portable tracking device, saying she was aware of two other incidents in the past few months where the app had resulted in stolen property being found and charges laid on offenders by police.
“It really does help. Police can use it to get search warrants and use it as an effective policing tool,” Senior Constable Freeman said.
When the application is switched on, the location of the phone can be pin-pointed down to a one or two house radius, not only effective for finding the missing phone, but other valuable items that may have been stolen also.
The free app which is available for both Apple and Android devices, has also been used by New England Local Area Command police, resulting in the arrest of two Armidale men who broke into a Chapel St home stealing a phone among other items.
The pair, who faced court earlier this month charged with aggravated break and enter and stealing offences, were found by police (directed by the application) crouching on the kitchen floor of a nearby house just a few short minutes after the break-in, .
The app has also been used in more serious cases, such as that of a young woman who was violently carjacked in Brisbane in late January. Police used the application to track down the stolen car and catch the crooks, who are now facing lengthy jail terms.
Senior Constable Freeman said a more amusing case was that of a Dubbo man who was caught red-handed with the stolen phone in the police station.
After a break-in to a vehicle, a man activated the app on the stolen phone, which was taken along with cash and sports shoes.
Seeing the location of the phone heading towards the police station, the young man notified police and was standing in the station making a report when the offender entered.
Heading to the station to report as part of his bail conditions, the offender was caught out after the stolen phone rang from the front of his pants at the front counter.
“It’s a win for police and the victims,” Senior Constable Freeman said.
She said police had a message for the runaway Tamworth thief who had dropped the stolen goods under the bush on Saturday.
“Tamworth police have your details, expect a visit in the near future so you can assist them with further inquiries.”