Another Stolen Car Recovered Thanks to an AirTag, Apple Must Be So Proud

Apple AirTag 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple
Apple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTag
Apple's AirTag is often used for the most nefarious purposes ever, as criminals discovered that its small form factor comes in handy for awful things like stalking.
But at the same time, this little device seems to help people across the world recover their stolen cars, especially when the AirTag is planted in a place where it's impossible to spot.

In other words, the whole thing works both ways, and a thief in Seattle found this out last week.

Local reports revealed that someone broke into a Seattle house in the middle of the night, probably looking for the keys to the SUV parked in front of the building. After the homeowner spotted him, the suspect ran away with a purse, jumping behind the wheel of the car and driving away as fast as he could.

The owner reached out to the police to report the theft, but in addition to the vehicle information, he also shared the exact location of the SUV in real time. Thanks to an AirTag hidden in the purse, the police could then hunt down the thief.

As the officers were heading to the location provided by the AirTag, they were alerted of other incidents, including road rage, that matched the suspect's profile. Using AirTag data, the police determined that the same suspect was involved in all these cases, eventually managing to find the man in the Queen Anne neighborhood.

The suspect was taken into custody and is now charged with assault and burglary.

AirTags have become valuable tools to keep track not only of small belongings like wallets but also of cars. The police themselves recommend car owners plant such trackers in their cars, especially as it's difficult for someone in a hurry to spend too much time looking for them.

AirTags work by connecting to the Find My network using nearby iPhones. They don't come with a built-in Internet connection, but using Bluetooth, an AirTag can connect to an iPhone in proximity and then transmit its coordinates to a master device. As such, the owner can see its location almost in real-time, as long as the AirTag finds an iPhone to broadcast the data.

AirTags also come with built-in stalking protection, so they generate notifications when they're moving with an unknown iPhone. As such, thieves could eventually get notifications on their iPhones that an AirTag is planted in the vehicle, but given they don't have the time to search for the device, they could eventually abandon the stolen cars altogether. This wasn't the case of today's thief, though, possibly as he was using an Android device. On Google's mobile operating system, users must download a dedicated app from the Play Store to search for nearby AirTags.
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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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