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iPhone app helps Brookline Police arrest robbery suspect

Posted by Brock Parker  January 25, 2012 11:39 AM

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A woman who was held against a wall and robbed on Tappan Street near a Green Line MBTA stop in Brookline last night helped police track down her alleged assailant in Boston using a smartphone app on her iPhone.

Brookline Police arrested a 16-year-old boy in Dorchester, whose name has not been released because he is a juvenile, on a charge of unarmed robbery in connection with the holdup.

Police said a woman reported around 9:30 p.m. last night that she was pushed from behind and her face was held against a wall in the rear of 312 Tappan St. after getting off a train at the Beaconsfield MBTA stop on the D Line.

The robber demanded the woman's money and phone and she gave him her purse before he fled down an alley. The woman told police that in addition to her money, checkbook and keys in her purse, the robber also got her iPhone and iPod Nano.
She gave police a description of the teen, but police were unable to locate him in the area.

But around 11 p.m., the woman contacted police to report that using a "Mobileme App" on her cellphone, she thought the robber might be at the Brookline Village T stop. The Mobileme App allows users to track their cell phones in real time as long as the phone is turned on, according to police.

Brookline Police responded to the area, and while they didn't find the robbery suspect, they did find several items that they believed belonged to the victim of the robbery, including her black wallet, which was emptied, as well as a Bank of America checkbook with her name on it.

The woman then called police again to report that the Mobileme App showed her phone appeared to be moving, possibly on the MBTA. She continued tracking the phone as it traveled to the JFK/UMASS T stop, and then began traveling on Sydney Street, Cresent Avenue and onto Dorchester Avenue before eventually moving on towards Howes Street.

Police responded to the area and spotted a teen on the street who fit the description of the robber and was holding a cell phone.

Police stopped the teen, and quickly were able to identify the iPhone he had as the property of the robbery victim in Brookline. Police also found the woman's keys, iPod Nano and driver's license in the teen's backpack.

He was arrested on the robbery charge, booked in Brookline and interviewed by police before he was released to his mother after conferring with a juvenile probation officer.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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