In a rather bizarre turn of events, a New York-based man Reinaldo De Jesus Henao was arrested at the Coachella festival with more than 100 stolen smartphones in his backpack. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival attracts a huge crowd given its legacy with the indie, hip-hop and other genres of music.
As per the Police records, a group of people tried using their Find my iPhone functionality and all of them were able to locate their phones with Henao on the Festival grounds. The festival goers then sought help from the local police who were able to easily pin down the iPhone thief. While most of the people have got their phones back, some of the devices are still lying with the lost and found section, a list of which is maintained on their website.
Apple’s Find My iPhone has earlier helped nab the iPhone thieves. Over and above that, the tool also ensures that your data is safe and not accessible to anyone but you. The service uses your Internet and GPS connections and displays the phone’s location on the map and will allow users to track their iPhones from the web browser on their PC. However, one needs to enable this feature by heading over to App Store and installing the Find My iPhone app. Even Google has been offering a similar feature for Android from quiet some time and it allows you to remotely wipe the device.
All said and done, when it comes to recovery of stolen smartphones it’s mostly a matter of luck. In this Coachella case, the thief was naive enough not to turn off the phones and could be tracked easily. I have lost a couple of smartphones over the last few years and I could not track/retrieve any of them, it’s obvious that the thief switches off the phone then flashes it with a fresh copy of firmware and bam! the smartphone is as good as new and can be sold easily.
What Find my iPhone provides, is a ray of hope that phone tracking might work at times.