If you’re looking to rob somebody, an iPhone presumably makes a great target: a breeze to carry away relatively inconspicuously and with a pretty decent resale value for your ‘work’. Unfortunately for three alleged muggers, the device’s much desirable gadgetry has a sting in the tail.
iPhone owner Can Duruk was carrying his phone this weekend in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside district. The area apparently living up to its name, he was robbed by two men who appeared to have a gun. As well as taking his credit card and forcing him to hand over his PIN code, they also made off with his phone.
Unfortunately for the bandits, Duruk was a subscriber to Apple’s MobileMe service. Among its benefits is a “Find my iPhone” feature, intended for people who’ve misplaced the handset. He simply logged into his account on his home computer and, using the phone’s GPS capability, the service gave its approximate location.
Normally the service can only identify the location to the nearest block or so, rather than the specific address. However, in this case Duruk was in luck: the block in question was dominated by a Wal-Mart store (where the muggers were busy spending on his card). He then tracked the robbers as they moved on to a restaurant.
That was enough detail to help police track down the men, who’ve now been charged, alongside an alleged accomplice, with a variety of offences related to the mugging and the use of the stolen credit card.