App helps woman, police recover stolen iPad

Man arrested at Durango Budget Inn

Some Apple users are having a much easier time tracking down lost or stolen devices, thanks to an application called Find My iPhone.

According to the app’s description posted on iTunes, people can use the app to locate their iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Mac on a map, display a message on the screen of the device, lock the device, clear the device of personal data and play a sound for two minutes at full volume even if the missing device is set to silent.

Reviews displayed on the page include several testimonials from those who say they would have never found their phone, laptop, tablet or iPod without the app, which works through Apple’s iCloud software.

The app recently came to the rescue of a Bayfield woman whose iPad and cash were stolen from her truck while she was at work Friday in Durango.

After realizing the items were missing, the woman, who asked not to be identified, used the app to lock her iPad, she said. She then used the map feature to track her iPad using her iPhone.

The woman and her father eventually tracked the iPad to a room at Budget Inn in Durango, she said.

“It tracked it probably within 20 feet,” she said of her iPhone.

She said an employee working at the front desk of the hotel told her that when a man in the room arrived earlier the same day, he paid with cash, asked for the hotel’s wireless password and was holding an iPad.

Officers from the Durango Police Department and the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office responded and contacted the occupant of the room, said Nick Stasi, an officer with the Durango Police Department who worked the case.

The occupant gave police permission to enter his room, and once inside, officers located both the stolen iPad and cash, Stasi said.

The man was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal trespassing, Stasi said.

Stasi said police probably would have pursued a search warrant if the suspect had not given consent for the search.

It is unknown, though, if a judge would have granted the warrant based on information from the Find My Phone app because the case never got that far, he said.

After the incident, Stasi researched the software online and found reports of several similar cases around the country.

Stasi said he remembered some similar cases in the Durango area, as well, including a few weeks ago, when a woman who lost her cellphone was able to track it down at a local business using the same technology.

The Find My iPhone app will only work between two iOS devices, according to the app’s Web page. An internet connection and iCloud account also are required, the page said.

As for the Bayfield woman, her iPad and cash should be returned by the end of the day.

“I definitely wouldn’t have found it without my iPad and iPhone,” she said.

scook@durangoherald.com

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