We love these types of stories on iDB. When the iPhone is used to thwart criminals, it’s always fun to read about.

The story of Lilli Gordon and her missing iPhone details how the smartphone’s GPS was used by authorities to track down the thieves and Lilli’s stolen valuables. Hopefully stories like this will teach would-be-prowlers that smartphones aren’t the best items to steal…

Lilli Gordon, her mom, and her aunt stopped at a park on the way to the airport in Multnomah County, Oregon.

“Gordon said the parking lot was busy with people walking around.

“There were people all around,” Gordon said. “We felt very safe.”

The group left Gordon’s car to stretch and take in the park’s view, and all of Gordon’s valuables were left in the car. Her iPhone, MacBook Pro, and other expensive items were stolen out of the car by two burglars, Nicholas Barnard and Lonnie Rogers. When Gordon and her family returned to her car, she noticed that her car had been broken into and her valuables were missing.

Needless to say, Gordon immediately contacted the authorities,

“Gordon said she thought her stuff was gone. Deputies told her the chances of them recovering the items were low. At the airport, Gordon and her mom tried to get on another flight to California. It’s then, Gordon said, she remembered that she had installed an app on her cell phone that allows the user to track the phone’s location.”

While the Fox 12 report doesn’t mention the exact app that was used to track down the perpetrators, the story does make it seem like it could have been Apple’s own Find My iPhone service.

“From the airport, Gordon called her father in California who logged onto his computer and started looking at the location of the phone. Lowell Gordon said he saw the phone had been at his sister-in-laws house which he expected. However, he said he grew suspicious when he noticed the computer said the phone was in North Portland.”

As the authorities and Gordon’s father worked together, they got closer to finding the fleeing thieves. This is where the story starts getting good:

“Lindstrand said deputies along with two Portland police officers went to the home in the 3900-block of North Kiska Street. There, police were allowed to search a vehicle in the driveway where some of Lilli’s stuff was found.

“The iPhone was still missing,” Lindstrand and said.

Deputies were given the log-in information by Lowell Gordon and a short time later, he noticed the phone was “moving.” He called deputies and they went to the phone’s location near North Lombard and North Chicago in Portland. The deputy looking at the G-P-S tracking information on his mobile computer in the squad car was able to direct a third deputy to a specific spot at that intersection, Lindstrand said. The deputy at the intersection met up with three adult males who were sitting underneath a tree.  The deputy speaking to the three men requested the deputy tracking the phone to “send an alert” and the stolen iPhone rang in one of the male’s pocket, Lindstrand said.

Deputies arrested Barnard and Rogers.”

Can you imagine being the idiot dumb enough to leave a stolen iPhone turned on and fully operational in your pocket while being questioned by the police? These guys deserved to be caught after acting so clumsily.

Barnard and Rogers were promptly arrested and Lilli Gordon presumably got her valuables back. Way to go, iPhone.

So, what’s the moral of the story? – Don’t steal an iPhone if you’re going to be dumb enough to leave the GPS on. Better yet, just don’t steal.

[image via Fox 5]

  • Brandy.

    SO! what if the SIM card is removed? can it be tracked?

    Or what if it has the SIM card removed, can it be tracked when the phone is connected to wifi?

    • goofygreek

      yes it can. it doesnt track the phone through the carrier, it tracks through an internet connection. you could have any sim card, or no sim card, as long as it gets on the internet somehow.

      • ktula

        That is incorrect. Without the SIM card, iPhone is good as gone. You don’t have to believe me. Just pull the SIM out of your iPhone and see if your can still find your iPhone using MobileMe’s Find My iPhone feature.

      • ktula

        Sorry, i take that back. Find My iPhone does work even with the SIM pulled.

  • Luke

    This is like a how-to guide for stealing an iPhone.. although it is nice to see the features and how they help victims.

    • Rick maahea

      Was about to say mine still works when I pulled mine. And they have find my iPod and find my (wifi only and wifi plus 3G) iPad

  • Mick

    Dumb criminals but it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, leaving an “iPhone, MacBook Pro, and other expensive items” in the car was it. That’s asking for trouble, no doubt they were on show aswell.

    • Manuel

      Sounds like they live in that car man lol.

      • Mick


  • Nelson

    I should get an android phone-looking case for my iPhone so it won’t get stolen.

    • Cristian

      I promote this. Hahahaha.

  • r0cket

    Cool story but to me, this sounds like a movie. Why you ask? Because I live in goddam Los Angeles. Cops here are either way to busy on more critical crimes rather thana stolen phone, or they just dont give a rats a**. I recently got my iPhone stolen, used Find My iPhone to track it down, and ended up tracking it to a house in San Jose, Ca. (near San Francisco). I called the San Jose police department to let them know what the issue was. I informed them to what information I had, which i had the exact location of the house, and all they said was to file a police report for lost/stolen phone and they’ll “look into it”, which pretty much means ‘We aint doing sh*t about it’. The police receptionist said that officers can’t just go door knocking on houses.

    Since I live in Los Angeles, San Jose would be a super far trip just for my iPhone, so I’m letting it go I guess. My last resort is to ship a pre-paid shipping labeled box to the house where my phone is located. Inside this box I will include the police report and a note asking them to return my phone and I will not “press charges” lol hopefully they’ll get scared and return my phone. I lose nothing either way so might as well give it a shot.

    • Manuel

      Honestly, I would try it. You have nothing else to lose.

    • goofygreek

      if all else fails, do a remote wipe.

    • charlie

      then they will know where you live

    • Jason Masters

      Yeah I agree with this I’ve had cops like that in the city if its too much work they usually brush you off unless Your persistent or your a pretty female with a nice rack I’m betting she had huge melons.

    • Fabio Rodrigues

      just be careful when you write your address as a sender, because if the person who haves your phone is dangerous he could go after you.

      • r0cket

        I wish he would come to L.A. so I can beat his ass down

  • DeltaJB

    even if the sim is changed you can still track it, you can track it once its firmware does not get updated

  • DeltaJB

    it works on the UDID of the phone and the apple account it was registered too

  • Mick

    Is Jeff on holidays lol because there has been posts about Tweak Week tweaks on other blobs but not on here and Jeff’s normally right on these things.

    • Mick

      I meant blogs obviously, I was saving some of the afformentioned and got all in a muddle ha

  • lt916

    Just turn off the damn iPhone and there is simply no way they will be able to track the phone. Then, connect to iTunes
    and restore to factory settings! And VOILA!!!

    • Binary-Stalker

      Tell me your solution.

    • grdbvsbwu

      Why don’t these*****s just use fakelocation and tell th authorities the phone is in Antactica when it is in the owner’s next door neighbor’s house?

  • Rick maahea

    The moral of the story is, don’t leave your expensive stuff sitting in a car at a park.

  • Joshua Lee

    I’m not gonna lie. When I first read this, I though it said the phone was in
    Poland and I was like WTF?

  • Kj

    … When smart phones meet dumb thieves 🙂

  • Jj

    U must restore it. Or simply remove mobile me email which allows find my iPhone to work and it can’t be tracked.

  • Is there any app that lets you track a
    cell phones location?