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19 June 2011 at 22:03 - Posted by Anonymous

Tech today keeps thieves at bay


Chad Torlage logged on to iPhone's trackersite as soon as he realised his phone had been stolen and retrieved it within three hours. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane

A dose of technology and a dash of bravery have helped a Cape Town man reclaim his stolen cellphone – and catch a suspected criminal in the process.

Chad Torlage, who works at the Apple iStore at the V&A Waterfront, traced his 3GS iPhone within three hours after it was stolen from the store’s counter recently while it was being charged.

Security camera footage showed the phone being snatched by three women. When Toriage realised his phone was missing, about 15 minutes after it was taken, he called the police. While waiting, he used his laptop to log on to the iPhone tracker website, and traced his phone’s location to the CBD. He used the laptop to remotely lock his phone to make sure it couldn’t be turned off, allowing him to narrow down its location.

“After the police took my statement, I showed them the tracking programme and three officers joined me as we followed the signal. I borrowed another iPhone from the store to help me track the signal on the road.”

Their search led them to a Long Street club, where the signal had stopped moving. The officers agreed to wait outside to avoid alerting the thieves.

“I went into the club and pretended to be interested in buying an iPhone, hoping someone would offer mine. No one took the bait and I went back outside to the cops to tell them to leave,” said Toriage.

He nearly gave up hope when the signal started moving again, leading up the road, where he saw two men walking away from each other.

“I decided this was probably my last chance to get my phone back and followed one of the guys. I used the borrowed phone to remotely activate the alarm on mine and a ringing sound came from the pocket of the guy being followed. We knew then that we had him,” said Torlage.

The man said he had just bought the phone and didn’t know it had been stolen. He was arrested and charged with possession of stolen goods.

“I’m just happy to have my phone back because it means a lot to me, said Toriage. “It’s really incredible how much technology can help us. In the space of a few hours I got my stolen phone back by using my laptop and phone. Friends have started calling me “Detective” but it was technology that really solved the case.”

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