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Technology Turning Theft Victims in to Detectives

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Cant find your smartphone? There's an app for that.

Apps like "Find my Mobile" and "Find my iPhone" can locate your phone when it's missing or stolen. "You could absolutely use this to find your device wherever it is, and that includes in the hands of a thief," said CNET Editor Lindsey Turrentine.

Some people are now starting to use this information to track down and confront thieves.

"I think that as technology continues to become more sophisticated and available to the masses, we're seeing more and more things of this nature which allow people to do their own investigations which would otherwise have been done in an old-fashioned kind of way with police work," said Tonawanda Police Captain Joseph Carosi. "Now they're able to sit and be detectives at home."

Carosi says that police would never recommend confronting a criminal by yourself. 

"I think the biggest danger is the danger in the unknown," Carosi said. "Maybe on one level you're just going with the intention of getting your property or to get your phone back, but you might be stepping in to an even bigger problem or a situation that you're not equipped or ready to deal with."

Instead, Carosi recommends that people take what information they have on the whereabouts of their stolen property to the police. The Captain says that is happening with increasing frequency, and police have been able to successfully retrieve the device on most occasions.

Turrentine says there may be another, safer way to thwart thieves coming soon.

"The killswitch concept is not one that's going to find your phone for you, but what a killswitch does is when your phone is stolen and you report it stolen, you can shut it down so that nobody can use the phone. It would be completely inoperable until it comes back to your hands."

Turrentine says the "killswitch" will be included on an opt-in basis on all phones sold after 2015.

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Locations : Buffalo
People : Joseph CarosiLindsey Turrentine
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