Apple AirTag Helps Police Arrest Thieves in Unusual Graveyard Heist

Apple's AirTag sports a small form factor 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple
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Apple's AirTag has so far proved to be a fantastic device for car owners, as the device helps track the location of the vehicle and recover it in case thieves steal it.
The AirTag connects to the Find My network using nearby iPhones, and thanks to its small form factor, it's incredibly easy to plant it virtually anywhere.

While some people misuse the AirTag, hiding it in unusual places such as behind license plates in an attempt to stalk others, Apple's device can come in very handy in a wide array of cases.

A Texas family has recently discovered such a new use after their turn to the AirTag to track a graveyard vase. Thieves stole the original vase, and after finding out that more than 100 others were nabbed as well, the family decided to turn to technology to catch the criminals.

They replaced the stolen vase with another one, this time hiding an AirTag. It didn't take long for thieves to steal it from the Restwood Memorial Park in Clute, so the family reached out to the police to provide them with real-time data on location.

The officers rushed to a residence near Brazoria, where three men were arrested. As it turns out, the suspects sold the vases as scrap metal. The heist included over a hundred bronze vases, each priced at approximately $600. As such, the thieves nabbed over $60K worth of vases before getting caught.

Apple's AirTag is often a double-edged sword, but its current integration into mobile devices has flaws that allow malicious actors to abuse its purpose.

For example, the AirTag alerts nearby iPhone owners that a tracker might be moving with them in an attempt to prevent stalking. On the other hand, Android device owners aren't getting an automatic warning, and their only option is to manually scan for nearby AirTags with a separate application available on the Google Play Store. Needless to say, this solution isn't exactly convenient, as users must scan for AirTags whenever they suspect their location might be tracked.

Google is working on the automatic detection of trackers, and such features could be integrated into the next Android version.

In the meantime, police also recommend owners use AirTags to keep their vehicles protected. Law enforcement claims Apple's device is often a super-valuable tool to recover stolen vehicles, especially because thieves typically drive away in a rush and don't have the necessary time to search the car for trackers. As such, the likelihood of recovering a stolen vehicle in the first hours after the theft is much higher.

The three arrested men were charged with third-degree felony theft. A fourth suspect is being sought, according to the police, but no further information is available right now.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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