The boy failed to realize one of the phones had a built-in GPS tracking device, and it rang in the boy’s closet while a deputy stood there dialing the number.
The story starts with Lynda Ehrman, who thought a visit Tuesday with her cousins would be like any other normal day.
“They got out, we hugged, not even thinking about the car,” Ehrman said. “They left their phones in the car.”
It was parked in their driveway, the windows were rolled up but they forgot to do one thing – lock their cars.
After the visit, the Ehrmans said their goodbyes. But soon, they returned. “The doorbell rang. I thought, well, that’s strange,” she said. “It was my cousin.”
She thought she’d left their iPhone and Blackberry inside the house. “We came out to their car, looked through the whole car, took it apart, and they said, you know, we’re sure we left them on the dashboard.”
And sure enough, the phones were gone.
“A young juvenile had entered a vehicle in his neighborhood without permission and stole an iPhone and a Blackberry,” Cpl. McGinnis said.
He said they used the iPhone’s GPS tracking capabilities and and app called Find My iPhone to nail down where it was.
“Find iPhone allows you to find this iPhone on a map, send it messages, and remotely lock or erase it,” McGinnis said.
And within minutes of reporting it to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, they knew exactly where the phone was located: Just across the yard at a neighbor’s home.
“The 12-year-old defendant denied having the phones,” McGinnis said. “At which time, the deputy called the iPhone and could hear the phone ringing in the defendant’s closet.”
The deputy said the boy then admitted to having the iPhone but denied he also had the missing Blackberry.
“The deputy again called the Blackberry and could hear the Blackberry ringing in the closet, where it was located in one of the defendant’s shoes,” she said.
“It’s grandma and grandpa raising kids,” said a neighbor Midge McHale. “God love ’em. And the kids are always very respectful. Never had any problem.”
“Kids just aren’t thinking,” McGinnis said. “They can’t think beyond six months, much less, 10 years from now, when they’re going to be an adult with a criminal record, trying to make it in the world.”
The boy faces felony burglary and theft charges, serious stuff for a kid who’s only 12-years-old.
His grandfather didn’t want to go on-camera but said he insisted the boy be booked on the charges. He said hopefully it’ll strike enough fear into him that he won’t try a stunt like this again.
“When I spoke with my cousin, she said I just want you to pray for this boy and his family because it’s devastating for them,” Ehrman said.
In 2010 Hernando County had 793 vehicle burglaries reported. Deputies said 80 percent of those crimes were because of unlocked vehicles.
Long story short: Lock your car…. and protect your cell phone with free GPS tracking apps like Find my iPhone or GadgetTrack.