iPad seals thieves' fate
Julie is used to catching marlin not thieves.
But when the Half Moon Bay great grandmother found her home burgled at lunchtime on October 10 she knew immediately what to do.
Her iPad was stolen together with more than $5000 of jewellery and a 2-litre bottle of Jim Beam.
The 65-year-old has hooked 62 marlin over the years and like fish taking the bait the burglars couldn't resist the 3G-enabled device.
"I thought sooner or later they are going to turn it on," she says.
"At 5 o'clock it came online and told me where it was - which was just down the bottom of the road and around the corner."
Hours later police were apprehending two 15-year-old boys.
Julie, who does not want her surname published, tracked them down by walking until the locations given by the Find My iPhone application and her smartphone matched up.
"I found this house which was up a right of way, but it had two big dogs."
The great granny yelled out from the fence and a lady came to the door.
"I said well, look, this has happened, my iPhone is showing me that my iPad is in your house.
"And she said, ‘that sounds like my son and his mate'."
Julie does not feel brave about her detective work as she believed she was reeling in youngsters.
It was during the school holidays, her neighbour reported kids knocking on the door - and the culprits had left a small and muddy footprint on Julie's bed.
All the stolen goods were recovered except for the bottle of bourbon.
"I hope they had horrible hangovers," she says.
Inspector Wendy Spiller says Julie's is one of two cases this month where stolen goods were recovered by such technology in East Auckland.
The device locations are often not accurate enough for police to get a search warrant so it was lucky occupants co-operated.
"If it's a block of flats, it's not any good. It needs to come back as a quite easy specific address, and then under the Search and Surveillance Act we have some powers," she says.
The public needs to be careful when trying to recover stolen items.
"If the people at that address say ‘no you're not going in', you can't just go in."
The two 15-year-olds are being dealt with by Youth Aid.
Julie is full of praise for the technology, the police who reacted promptly, and for the boys' parents.
"The parents were very very good, very co-operative and very devastated," she says.
"She could have said no it can't have been my kid, don't come near my house and none of us could have done anything about it."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you wear a lifejacket when you are on the water - no matter what vessel you are in?