Robbers Assault Armored Truck, Run Away With $1.1 Million and an AirTag

AirTag helps arrest robbers 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/vicersolutions on Instagram
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AirTags have become must-have devices apparently not only to keep track of car keys and wallets but also of millions of dollars.
The living proof comes from Chicago, where two robbers assaulted an armed truck and managed to run away with no less than $1.1 million.

One of the robbers was waiting for the guards to return after entering a store. With a gun pointed at his head, the guard opened the door of the truck, giving the robbers enough time to remove a total of seven plastic bins and ten deposit bags.

The two thieves then jumped into a grey Nissan parked right behind the armored truck and drove away without knowing that every single step they made was already tracked. An AirTag was apparently installed in the plastic money bins, so as long as the cash was in their possession, the police were aware of their location precisely.

The robbers tried to erase their traces by swapping vehicles and going to various hiding spots, but given the AirTag was always with them, all these ideas proved useless.

The police rapidly started an investigation, and using AirTag location data mixed with surveillance camera footage, they managed to rapidly locate and arrest the suspects. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were found in the ceiling and the basement of a hiding spot.

AirTags are pill-shaped devices that connect to nearby iPhones to broadcast their location to a master device. Using a standard CR2032 battery, AirTags could work for up to one year without the need for charging. They are enrolled in the Find My network, so once configured, AirTags show their location in almost real time on the map as long as they connect to an iPhone in its proximity.

Apple launched the device specifically to help customers track their belongings, but the AirTag rapidly became a gadget used for all kinds of nefarious purposes. More often than not, stalkers turned to AirTags to monitor their victims. Car thieves also installed AirTags behind the license plates of the vehicles they planned to steal. The small form factor makes the AirTag difficult to spot, and as such, people might have no clue their location is being tracked.

Apple has already implemented a series of anti-stalking protections in the AirTag. The device issues a notification on nearby iPhones when it’s moving with them. Users must download an application from the Google Play Store to manually scan for nearby trackers on Android, so technically, this solution would have helped the robbers if they suspected an AirTag was planted in the plastic bins.

Apple is working with Google and a series of other companies to create a standard that would allow for the automatic detection of trackers. Once this technology becomes available, users should be warned they’re being tracked automatically regardless of their mobile platform.
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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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