MADERA COUNTY – It took sheriff’s deputies all of 17 minutes to track down a stolen wallet and iPhone thanks to the free “Find My Phone” app.
Find My Phone helps owners track and locate their missing, lost or even stolen cell phones. Once activated, only the owner of the phone can turn it off.
This past Saturday the nifty feature was put to the test for a 28-year-old Florida State student studying Agriculture and Farming in the Central Valley.
She and friends stopped by the Pilot Truck Stop for a quick bite during their weekend travel.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, she set her cell phone and wallet down for maybe a minute to add condiments to her meal. That’s all it took for a 12-year-old to snatch her belongings and flee the store, taking off with an adult companion, 22-year-old Antonio de Jesus Hernandez Ramirez.
Fortunately the victim’s free tracking application was activated, and with help from two deputies, she got her property back in record time.
At 4:59 p.m., Deputy Chris Williams and the victim began following her cell phone GPS coordinates via computer, providing location updates to Deputy Mark Schafer.
The first location, N Lake Street and Green Way…then Merced Street going north toward Kennedy Street …. Kennedy Street moving toward Raymond Road/Road 28 ½ … then North on Road 28 ½ toward Oregon … Oregon moving east toward Amador Street…and at 5:16 p.m., the final destination point, a residence located just south of Oregon on the west side of Amador Street.
The cell phone and wallet were recovered, and Ramirez was apprehended for possession of stolen property and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Bail was set at $10,000, which Ramirez posted and was released.
The case remains under investigation.