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Published February 20, 2012, 07:00 PM

Tracking sofware helps to foil phone thieves

Underwood, MN (WDAY TV) - Better technology for your phone means convenience and personal information at your fingertips, but crooks know this too. An Underwood, Minnesota woman knows this after two people stole her purse from a grocery store parking lot in Battle Lake. But the suspects were caught. The reason? A phone app.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Better technology for your phone means convenience and personal information at your fingertips, but crooks know this too. An Underwood, Minnesota woman knows this after two people stole her purse from a grocery store parking lot in Battle Lake. But the suspects were caught. The reason? A phone app.

Because the owner of the purse had just put a phone locator app on her phone, authorities were able to track the suspects and the purse from a rest stop in Alexandria to Golden Valley, where the stolen car, stole purse, the phone, and the suspect were all found.

Verizon’s Barry Stall says he sees people daily who have lost their phone or know it was stolen. The answer? An app - often free - that tracks the location of a phone, at any time.

Barry Stall – Verizon Fargo: “And it will actually link with Google maps, which is navigation turn by turn. It will link right to it and find your phone.”

With so many people buying smart phones, thieves know they are a goldmine storing anything from banking information to your boss’s home phone number.

Barry Stall: A nice feature is called mobile recovery. That gives you a way to lock your phone remotely. You can actually wipe information off your phone remotely, and if you need to you can actually track that phone. It will give you turn by turn directions to your phone.”

Law enforcement sees it as just another tool the consumer and investigators can use when looking for those thieves taking data and secure information from stolen phones.

Lt. Tory Jacobson – Moorhead Police: “If somebody reported that their phone was actually stolen, not just misplaced, you could activate where the phone is at and you certainly know this is a location you weren’t at you can contact law enforcement and we’d assist you in recovering property.”

The two suspects have been charged with the theft, and have admitted to the crime.

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