Police track stolen iPad using smartphone app

SEATTLE -- A smartphone app is making it harder for crooks to get away with stolen iPhones and iPads.

Smart phones are small, valuable and easy to grab, which makes them a hot commodity for thieves. But a technologically-challenged robber recently sealed his own fate when he stole a victim's iPad, but not his iPhone.

The man didn't realize there's an app that tracks one device from the other.

Ryan Blackwell has the app, called Find iPhone, but he never thought he would have to use it.

"Never. I didn't even think I would ever be mugged," he said. "I mean, that's the last thing on anybody's mind walking through a park to catch a bus."

Blackwell was walking through Seattle's Freeway Park Saturday night when two men approached him and asked to bum a cigarette.

He handed over a smoke, at which point he said the strangers chased him, knocked him to the ground and took a backpack containing his iPad.

"I'm alright. I'm still shaken up. I'm in a lot of physical pain still," Blackwell said. "I had it on ice for a couple hours yesterday."

In a bold move, Blackwell hid his iPhone from the robbers. Still in shock after the robbery, it took him a few minutes to remember the app. Then he called the police.

"(I said) 'I know where my iPad is,' and the officer's like, 'Are you serious?' I'm like, 'Serious. I can show you where it is. Look, look, it's right there,'" Blackwell said.

Officers soon corralled the suspected robber, who had the iPad. Both Blackwell and the police were thrilled that the app worked so well.

"It feels great," he said. "The good guys won, definitely."

The 23-year-old man who was caught red handed with the iPad was taken to jail, but the second man is still on the loose.

After his own experience, Blackwell hopes thieves will think twice before they steal an iPad.