GPS feature helps cops catch local iPad thieves

Aaron Krause • Oct 11, 2013 at 9:07 PM

A GPS tracking device in an Apple iPad helped Milan police solve a Sept. 25 case in which the device was stolen from a village residence.

Two 17-year-old boys are charged in connection with the case -- one with burglary, theft and tampering with evidence and the other with obstructing official business for allegedly lying to officers during the investigation.

Milan's acting police chief, Sgt. Bob Meister, said he went to a Milan Manor residence in response to the report of an Apple iPad theft.

Meister said the victim told him he left for work early that morning and noticed the device in one of his son's bedroom. The father unplugged the iPad and placed it at the foot of his son's bed.

When the man returned home, they were unable to locate the iPad, which is valued at $750.

The next day, Meister conducted a follow-up interview with the boy's father, who said the iPad has a GPS tracking device. After logging onto an application called "I-Cloud,' he'd determined the unit was powered up the previous night at 10:46. The GPS indicated the iPad was located near 45 Stoney Brook Lane in Wakeman.

Wakeman Police Chief Tim Hunker identified the occupants of the home.

Meister contacted a woman who lives at the home and made arrangements for her to bring her 17-year-old son to the station.

Meister said he told the boy the device was tracked to his mother's home. The teen reportedly admitted he and a friend were at the home about that time, but "denied any knowledge of any stolen iPads and swore to me had had no information that would be of any use to me." The youth also told Meister he didn't know if his friend had stolen the device.

Upon further questioning, the high school student admitted he knew the victim's son, but they weren't close.

"I asked (the boy) if he could provide me with a reason the missing iPad's GPS tracker would indicate it was at his residence and how by coincidence both he, (his friend) and (the victim's son) all were acquainted in some way, tying everything together," Meister wrote.

The boy again "stated he knew nothing about any missing iPad and couldn't help me," the acting chief said.

The boy's mother told Meister her son's friend and his mother were on their way to the station to speak to him.

Later that day, Meister met with that boy and his mother.

"I began to focus on (him) as my main suspect in the investigation," Meister wrote, adding he advised the 17-year-old of his Miranda rights in his mother's presence. At first, the boy denied having any role in stealing the iPad.

"I looked (him) in the eye and again tied together all the incredible coincidences surrounding the disappearance of the iPad and I told him straight out I wanted the iPad back."

In response to further questions, the youth asked hypothetical questions such as "What if the iPad was broken and arrangements could be made to buy a new one?"

Meister said the teen then confessed he "smashed it" and, upon Meister's request, told the story from the beginning.

The boy teared up and "stated he went to the (victim's) residence at around noon yesterday after getting out of school." He entered the victim's residence through an unlocked rear door and located the iPad in a bedroom. The suspect reportedly said he took the iPad, left the residence and ended up at the home which the GPS device indicated. The boy admitted he told his friend the device was stolen and the two powered it up. One of the boys said the two got scared and "threw it on the ground," the device shattered and turned off. One of them threw it in a puddle to ensure it was "done" and neither knew where it was.

Meister sent a report to Huron County Juvenile Court. The boys' hearings are scheduled for Oct. 18.

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