Boston Police Track Accused Cell Phone Thieves Using iPhone App

Two Boston teens were arrested for armed robbery and other charges, according to police, after stealing phones and a purse early Sunday morning. However, the real crime might be how they allowed themselves to be caught.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, Boston Police officers were able to track down the two 17-year-olds — a male from Mattapan and a female from Dorchester — using a GPS-enabled app on the stolen phone. You would think 17-year-olds would be more attuned to the modern capabilities of standard GPS technology.

Shortly after 1 a.m., police responded to reports that a 22-year-old Dorchester woman and a 23-year-old Mashpee woman were robbed on Alban Road. The victims told police they were both robbed at gunpoint, and one was hit in the head with a gun by the male. The two teens then fled toward the Ashmont MBTA station with two stolen phones and a purse, according to police reports.


When police arrived at the scene, one of the victims told officers that her iPhone had the “Find My iPhone’’ app. Police used the app to find that the phone was traveling along the MBTA Red Line route toward Mattapan.

Additional police met the trolley at the Mattapan station and – surprise – found two passengers matching the descriptions given by the victims in an otherwise empty trolley. Holding the iPhone to his ear, the male suspect tried to ignore police and exit the train. Officers stopped and searched him for a weapon, finding a painted black airsoft gun in his waistband.

According to the DA, the iPhone held by the male belonged to the first victim, while the female had the other’s stolen phone and purse.

The duo were charged in juvenile court with deliquency to wit; armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, and receiving stolen property over $250. Dorchester Municipal Court Clerk Jay Allen set the male’s bail at $5,000 and the female’s bail at $2,500. He also ordered that the defendants each submit to GPS monitoring, remain under house arrest, and to stay away from the scene of the incident, as well as the victims and each other.


Both juveniles are set to appear in court Jan 13. If they have any trouble locating the court, at least they’re now surely aware of the usefulness of GPS tracking.

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