Rob Williams loves to go stand-up paddle boarding at North Beach. And like many people, he doesn't go far without his iPhone. But he didn't always bring technology along for the ride. One evening, watching the sunset from his paddle board, he left his 2-week-old iPhone on the top of the lifeguard stand. When he returned, his towel, sandals and phone were gone. He contacted the beach cleanup crew the next morning, but no luck. That's when his two favorite girls had an idea.
"My wife and daughter say wait a minute, we can find your iPhone with the new Find My iPhone app, there's an app for that!!" Williams said.
A free app that lets you track down any Apple device from another computer or phone. The app also allows you to remotely wipe or lock your phone.
"Isn't that cool!? Ahh!! Isn't that wild!" Williams said.
Find My iPhone located Williams' device resting in Hinesburg.
"I didn't know who could have picked it up. Could have been innocent, could have been an ax murderer," Williams said.
So he called in the big guns-- Shelburne Police-- to help with the rescue mission.
"We got in his cop car; I'm riding shotgun," Williams said. "Right as we're leaving the phone starts moving, which is exciting because now it's a chase!"
The phone was on the move to a gas station in Williston.
"We start radioing to these other cars and they're all converging on the phone from greater parts of Burlington. So I'm thinking this is great! This is like a high-speed iPhone chase! This is exciting-- better than TV!" Williams said.
"The application is partnered with Google maps and it's pretty accurate, at least in this case, to several feet," Shelburne Police Ofc. Josh Flore said.
The app tracked the phone to the exact location in the back of a pickup truck.
"When we asked if he had an iPhone it didn't register with him, and then he said, 'Oh yeah, I found it,'" Flore said.
Police say the person who took Williams' phone was on parole and told them he was planning to turn it in later.
Between the exciting chase and getting his phone back, Williams couldn't be happier and decided not to press charges.
Shelburne Police say Williams did the right thing by contacting police. They say people should not do their own vigilante justice.
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