Thief Scared Away by AirTag, Abandons Car on the Side of the Road

Police advise car owners to get AirTags 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple
Apple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTag
I've seen AirTags working miracles for car owners, as the little tracker can be planted anywhere in the cabin to keep tabs on the vehicle's location.
Its form factor and dimensions helped owners recover their stolen cars in no time, and the same happened recently in Timonium, Md., when a single mother managed to determine her stolen car's location in real-time.

The woman explains that she was just trying to put her son in another car when a thief jumped behind the wheel of her own and drove away. It all took a few seconds, so the woman had no option but to call 911 from her brother-in-law's phone.

The woman was lucky. Her iPhone was in the stolen car, and after tracking down the smartphone, she provided the police officers responding to the case with its location. A few minutes later, a police car was rushing to the found location.

However, the thief was no rookie. He knew that an iPhone could be used to track his whereabouts, so he threw the device from the car. When the police arrived at the indicated location, the phone was on the ground, without the vehicle in sight.

It was still a major step in the search for the car, as the single mother remembered that she had an AirTag attached to the car keys. When she got the phone back, the first thing she did was launch the Find My app and look for the AirTag. A new episode in the search saga was ready to start.

The police rushed to a new location, this time indicated by the AirTag. Minutes later, they were there, with the vehicle abandoned on the side of the road. It was clear the thief spotted the AirTag, so he decided to give up on the vehicle and run on foot. They took away the car keys, so despite the police recovering the car, the owner couldn't take it back without towing it. The woman eventually had to replace the car keys, as the thief removed the AirTag and threw it on the ground without leaving the keys anywhere close.

Law enforcement emphasizes that the AirTag is becoming a must-have tool for every car owner, as it can provide critical assistance in the search for a stolen vehicle. The AirTag communicates with the owner via the Find My network, and it connects to the Internet to transmit its coordinates using nearby iPhones. Its battery (a standard CR2032 unit that can be easily replaced) can last for up to six months, as it doesn't integrate a direct Internet connection, so it only goes online to broadcast its location when it detects an Apple smartphone in proximity.
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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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