5 Stupid Criminals Foiled by Smart Technology

These thieves have their head in the cloud—literally.

By Damon Beres from Reader's Digest Magazine | September 2013
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    Illustration by Edwin Fotheringham

    Fooled by Find My iPhone

    When a shop clerk in New York City was robbed at gunpoint for her iPhone early last year, a nearby officer knew to spring into action with his own phone. Using the Find My iPhone app, he entered the victim’s Apple ID and located the missing mobile in seconds. Wasting no time, he drove over and immediately caught the perp—who’d stashed the pricey device in his sock.

    Original Photo by John.Karakatsanis via Flickr

    Snagged by Selfies

    Shortly after a victim noticed her iPad had been lifted while she was shopping at a Southern California Costco, she spent some time scrolling through photos on her phone. Lo and behold, snapshots of the alleged thieves were popping up on her iCloud account thanks to the iPad’s auto-upload feature. Police released the self-styled mug shots, and the tablet was quickly returned. Maybe the thieves should try Snapchat next time?

    Original Photo by mikecogh via Flickr

    ID’d by Instagram

    Nathaniel Troy Maye, 44, and Tiwanna Tenise Thomason, 40, were wanted for identity theft and were caught thanks to some boneheaded social networking. While out for a fancy steak dinner, the couple snapped an Instagram pic and tagged the location. The picture was used in court to help identify the two, who face up to 12 years behind bars. Hashtag #lastmeal?

    Selling a Steal on eBay

    eBay makes selling old junk a snap, but one thief in the Chicago suburbs quickly found that it’s not the best place to unload stolen bikes. One victim hopped onto the online auction house after his bike went missing, noticed that it was for sale, and notified police. Detectives won the auction and arrested the suspect upon delivery.

    Original Photo by vernieman via Flickr

    BlackBerry Devices Protect Themselves… Sort of

    A mugger recently targeted students near Columbia University in New York City, nabbing their high-end mobiles at gunpoint. But when one student tried to hand over a BlackBerry, the thief turned up his nose. Reportedly telling the victim “I want iPhones,” the mugger handed back the device and let him be.

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