Thief Who Stole $2.5K eBike Probably Hates Apple Now

AirTag helps recover stolen e-bike 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple
Apple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTagApple AirTag
Critics claim Apple is mostly a follower than the kind of company that keeps innovating, but the AirTag proves otherwise. Small trackers have been around for a while, but the Find My support and its wireless connectivity to nearby trackers turned the AirTag into a must-have device for many people.
AirTags work by getting their power from a CR2032 battery that provides approximately six months of autonomy. It doesn't sport built-in Internet support but connects to nearby iPhones specifically to transmit its coordinates to the master account. The AirTag owner can see the location in the Find My network, and the information is updated as long as the device finds an iPhone in proximity to share new data.

People are turning to AirTags specifically to track their belongings, but the concept evolved well beyond the one proposed by Apple when announcing the device.

The iPhone maker said the AirTag would help monitor keys and wallets, but people have started using it for everything from pets to cars and motorcycles.

Someone in Miami installed an AirTag into their premium electric bike, trying to make sure they'd recover the vehicle if it got stolen. The horrible scenario eventually happened, so a 46-year-old found the bike locked in a designated spot and decided to take it home.

They cut the lock and ran away with the bike, not even thinking the vehicle might be equipped with a tracker. Well, it was, as the owner fired up the Find My application on their iPhone, contacted the police, and provided them with up-to-date location information.

An officer who was on patrol spotted a homeless man with two electric bikes, one of which matched the description of the premium model that was reported a few hours earlier. He questioned the suspect, eventually finding burglary tools, including a hammer and a screwdriver, believed to be used for stealing bikes. The victim provided the police with a receipt of the e-bike, confirming the 46-year-old man stole the vehicle.

The police arrested the suspect, who is now charged with grand theft, possession of burglary tools, tampering with physical evidence, and criminal mischief. According to a report, he's now held with a $16K bond.

The AirTag saves the day again, but it's not always that easy. People whose vehicles got stolen claim that sometimes the police can't help, especially if their belongings are not in plain sight. The officers need a warrant to search homes or private property where the AirTag indicates a stolen belonging, sometimes giving thieves enough time to locate and disable the tracker. AirTags come with built-in stalking protection, sending notifications to nearby iPhones when it's moving with them. Thieves could, therefore, get alerts if AirTags are planted into the stolen vehicles.
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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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