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Thieves Target Hermosa Beach iPhones, Apps To Help Track Them Down

A look into the possible reasons why thieves have been targeting iPhones in Hermosa Beach and ways to help prevent future crimes.

In light of two recent iPhone robberies that took place in Hermosa Beach within the last five days, Patch has a couple of suggested apps that could help potential victims track down their stolen phones.

A Little Background:

The first robbery occurred Saturday in the , and left one woman’s left arm injured. In this incident, two men approached three women and stole a purse and two iPhones before fleeing the scene, according to Hermosa Beach police.

The second robbery occurred Monday in the 500 block of Pier Avenue. The victim waved down a police officer and reported that a man, described as being between the ages of 25-30, grabbed her cell phone and took off, according to statement from Hermosa Beach police. The victim told police that the man ran to a getaway car before fleeing the scene.

A Design Made for Theft

According to an L.A. Weekly article published last month, the new iPhone4S has a feature, described as security flaw by some, that enables thieves to replace “the SIM card with one from a pay-as-you-go-phone.”

“On newer phones, changing the SIM card is like changing the service, and if a pay-as-you-go SIM is put in the phone, there is no record of the user with a service provider,” Lt. Paul Vernon of Los Angeles Police Department told the L.A. Weekly.

The Second Method: iPhone Service

The second method is rare and much more elaborate. Basically, a thief will take the stolen phone to an Apple retail store for replacement after the victim blocks the service.

According to an article in the Toronto Star, in one instance, a clerk working the Apple Genius Bar assumed that victim’s phone was malfunctioning and simply handed the thief a new phone.  Apple policy does not require employees to confront suspected criminals, the Toronto Star reported.

Apps that Help Catch the Crooks

  • Find My iPhone

The name says it all. This popular iPhone app allows you to use another iOS (mobile operating system) device to find it and protect data on your phone, according to the Apple Store’s web site. The user simply uploads the app on another iOS device, opens it and signs in with their Apple ID. The app also allows the user to activate a very loud alarm on their stolen phone using the second device, such as MacBook or iPad.

Once activated, the app will help locate your phone using a map. One drawback is the app will not work if the phone is turned off. Click here to learn more about this app.

  • Gadget Track

Once activated, this App will take a picture of the thief who stole the phone—pretty cool, huh? According to an article on macworld, “a separate $1 in-app purchase lets you opt to snap pictures (front and rear) on capable devices if the possessor is convinced to open the app.” In other words, the thief gets a prompt to open the App once the victim has activated the service.

Once the crook does, she or he gets an impromptu photo shoot, ready or not. The App also alerts the phone’s owner of any unauthorized SIM card changes. Click here to learn more about Gadget Track.

  • iHound

The iHound’s tracking website enables users to track the location of their iPhones every time there is a location change. The device also features the loud alarm function, which helps to deter thieves and helps individuals find lost iPhones.

The iHound app also allows its user to set up Geofencing location markers, which make it a great product for parents who want to keep an eye on unruly teenagers. The app also allows for notification system that alerts all your contacts that your iPhone has been stolen, according to the company’s website. Click here to learn about this app.

The above apps are just a few examples of what’s out there in the market, and none can completely guarantee that your device will be returned. Perhaps the best advice is to be aware of your surroundings and keep your phone tucked away somewhere safe when you’re out in public.

Rick Koenig May 24, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I got my I Phone stolen last Saturday while I was at the Mermaid.
Miles May 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Too bad the state of CA prohibits all but wealthy business owners & top policitians from having a license to carry. Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer are all "anti-gun," yet all three have licenses to carry - and all three pack heat everywhere they go. If everyday citizens like you & me could do the same - after going through a thorough background check - then we wouldn't need to think about what app to use to track down our stolen property, because we could offer the thief a gun pointed in their face when they tried to rob us. They run away, lesson learned, and our app would tell us where our iPhone is: right where it belongs, in our pocket / purse.
Beachbum May 30, 2012 at 10:33 PM
First off, Miles, you don't need a license to carry, nor any license or registration whatsoever. You can buy any gun you want on the street, eBay, Craigslist, etc. and there's no registration, no permits, no waiting periods, no age limits, and you can run thru the streets all day waving it around like the lunatic you are. So long as you wave it around like a mad man instead of concealing it like a psychopath there are no laws to protect us from you. Of course if you volunteer to follow the optional and pathetically weak regulations, quit your bitching and cough up the $400 bucks for a concealed permit. If you think that $400 is beyond reach for all but the rich and famous, quit your bitching and go back to your Montana shack. Lastly, go ahead and shoot some kid in the back as he runs away from you without having injured you in the slightest. See where that gets you.
Guy May 30, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Really? What if that person uses his gun and the bullet misses and hits a child crossing the street 100 yards away. I'd rather loose my phone than risking taking an innocent live. I'm not even talking about the legal expenses involved. It's far better to leave the use of guns to the professionally trained police.

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