A Gucci bag, a Lexus, and a homicide: stolen iPhone tracking turns horribly wrong in Florida
Apple iPhone users in the US have taken advantage of the option to turn off ad tracking that arrived with the newest iOS 14.5 update with quite the vigor, but the iPhone's actual physical tracking abilities can and will be used for not so noble purposes, and a Florida man learned that the hard way.
Spotted buying luxury goods in the Gucci and Louis Vuitton shops at the Mall at Millennia in Orlando, he was immediately targeted by one Derrick Maurice Herlong, 38, who apparently affixed a stolen iPhone on the undercarriage of his Lexus to track his whereabouts and rob him later, the investigation found.
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What was supposed to be a robbery, however, quickly turned into a crying game after Herlong and accomplice turned up masked and armed at a party where the Lexus driver went later that evening. The story then took a macabre turn when an innocent bystander was fatally shot while the robbers took off with the Lexus that was later found abandoned.
As for the iPhone, the truck driver who was called to tow the car afterwards found the handset in a plastic bag under the vehicle, attached with magnets. The iPhone had been purchased with the credit card and ID from a purse stolen a few weeks before, and the iCloud account actually belonged to a Panda Express waitress who was briefly arrested for the murder before a security cam footage showed that her bag was stolen.
The phone number of Derrick Herlong was found on the iPhone purchased with the stolen identity, and the phone was handset was fully charged and freshly acquired, with just the activation message on it yet.
As if the story could turn more bizarre, said Herlong was actually arrested on a totally different charge, and, during the execution of the search warrant, officers found the iPhone receipt and a few of the Gucci and Louis Vuitton items that were left in the Lexus, allowing the authorities to connect the dots on the homicide at the party. Not all tracking is created equal, and it's only a matter of time someone takes advantage of Apple's new AirTags with nefarious purposes, too.