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Streets of San Francisco & Stupid Smartphone Tricks

Mon Jul 26, 2010 - 7:43 PM EDT - By Annie Latham

It could have happened to any smartphone and any dumb thief...

According to San Francisco Police, a bicycle riding bandit snatched an iPhone out of the hands of a woman in the South of Market neighborhood. Unbeknownst to the bandit, that wasn't just a run of the mill iPhone. Rather, it happened to be one that was being used to demo real-time GPS tracking software. Oops!

Needless to say, Mr. Bandit was captured within 10 minutes about a half a mile away from the original snatch.

The product, Alert & Respond, clearly worked as promised.

I'm sure the SFPD appreciated the assist.

According to a story in Wired, this isn't the first time a phone grabber was nabbed with a GPS assist.

In 2007, the town of Babylon on New York's Long Island was able to retrieve 14 stolen city phones, thanks to GPS tracking. A company called GadgetTrak has a whole page of devices retrieved using GPS and the company's software. Apple offers a "find my iPhone" feature with its optional, $100/year MobileMe service, and similar services are available for other GPS-enabled phones.

Wonder what the punishment/fine will be for the SF thwarted bandit?

Whatever it is, an all out effort should be made to heavily publicized it.

The moral of the story is:

A smartphone in the hand is NOT necessarily low-hanging fruit.


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