Technology

iPhone Tracking App and Selfie Help Winnipeg Police Catch Teen Robbers

Three teen suspects in Winnipeg, Manitoba were tracked down thanks to an app and a selfie they took on an iPhone that was stolen on Tuesday.

The first of two violent robberies occurred around 5 p.m. when one of the teenagers asked a 30-year-old man for a cigarette in an alleyway in Osborne Village. The man was attacked by the boy along with two others when he refused.

During the attack, the group stole the man’s iPhone which has a tracking app installed. He escaped with only minor injuries.

"There was a tracking device on the iPhone and the suspects posted a picture that went to the victim’s Cloud [account]," Const. Rob Carver told the Winnipeg Free Press on Thursday.

Around 9 p.m., a 15-year-old was also attacked and robbed near Robson Street and Kernaghan Avenue in Transcona, according to the newspaper.

The boy also sustained minor injuries, police said, and officers used the selfie and data from the app to link the two attacks.

Police arrested and charged three boys, a 14-year-old, 15-year-old and 16-year-old.

The youngest was released, but the other two boys are being held at the Manitoba Youth Centre.

Carver told CBC News that the teens didn’t realize the app would be used by police to locate them after the first robbery.

“I’m pretty sure they didn’t based on the taking of the picture,” said Carver. “A guy takes a picture of himself and doesn't realize that if the phone is set up to do that, the picture populates to your account, which can be shown on other devices."

However, Carver adds that people shouldn’t try to retrieve their phones by themselves if it gets stolen. Even though the app helped to pinpoint the suspects, people should first go to the police if they are victims of crime.

Sources: CBC News, Winnipeg Free Press

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