Crime victim uses app to track stolen phone, leads to arrest - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Crime victim uses app to track stolen phone, leads to arrest

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App that led to recovery of stolen phone and arrest App that led to recovery of stolen phone and arrest
FOREST ACRES, SC (WIS) -

You don't typically think of your phone as a tool for fighting crime.  In this case it did just that.

WIS employee Alex DeRhodo was frustrated when his phone and several items were stolen from his unlocked car on April 22nd.

"It had picture of my nephew on there which are pretty important to me so I wanted those pictures if it was possible," he said.  

He channeled his frustration into the Internet looking for some way to locate his phone.  That's when he found an app called Plan B.

"I was able to track him down with him watching me track him down on my phone," said DeRhodo.

He remotely downloaded the app to his phone and within 45 minutes he was tracking the man who took it.

"This is the first ping I got," he said. "Downtown near the hospital, near the bus station."

"Once we were getting into our afternoon newscast and I was tracking him it, was constantly at this location here," said DeRhodo.

That location was the Colony Apartments.  Alex called Columbia Police and got them involved.

"They said to be careful and that once I had a location they would be glad to assist me and come with me."

They say more and more they're using technology to fight crime. And not just with cell phones.

"Yes, there's televisions now on the market where they're smart televisions with blue tooth capabilities and sometimes GPS," said Interim Columbia Police Chief Ruben Santiago.

DeRhodo got his phone back.  The suspect, Jerod Benjamin, was arrested and charged with the two thefts. 

DeRhodo has learned an important lesson:

"Lock my car doors," he said.

DeRhodo feels had the suspect not agreed to meet, his phone would have eventually led police to him anyway.

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