The female owner previously planted an AirTag into the vehicle, so when the thief stole her Audi, she could see the information in real-time in the Find My application on her iPhone. The woman rapidly called the police, and the dispatcher sent an officer to the location provided by the vehicle owner.
The police car rapidly spotted the stolen Audi and began chasing it, at which point the 18-year-old thief stopped in the middle of the road and exited the vehicle. He surrendered and told the office he had no idea the car was stolen. His story was all kinds of amusing.
The man claimed he was walking on the street when a friend he knew from middle school pulled up next to him and offered to give him a ride. Eventually, this mysterious friend told Little he could buy the car for just $500.
It was obviously a bargain, so the 18-year-old immediately took the offer despite not even having a driver's license. He jumped behind the wheel and started driving when the police officer spotted the Audi and pulled him over.
Despite this captivating story, the man is charged with vehicle theft and driving without a license, with a $10,500 bond.
Apple's AirTag has become a must-have device for vehicle owners thanks to its small form factor and long battery life. The AirTag does not sport a rechargeable battery but runs on a CR2032 unit that can provide up to six months of autonomy. The AirTag communicates with the master iPhone using the Find My network by connecting to nearby smartphones. It doesn't sport built-in Internet but uses the iPhones in its proximity to share its coordinates with the account owner.
The Audi thief most likely didn't own an iPhone, as the AirTag automatically sends anti-stalking warnings to nearby Apple smartphones. Apple introduced the protections specifically to prevent the misuse of the AirTag, so the device generates notifications when it's moving with an iPhone other than the master device. However, people still turn to AirTags for nefarious purposes, including stalking and vehicle theft.
Police recommend car owners to get an AirTag and hide it in their vehicles, as the device can offer critical location information if they get stolen. Law enforcement tells them to call the police the moment they spot the car is missing, as the faster the search begins based on AirTag location information, the bigger the chances for the thief to still be close.