A mobile phone thief caught with 20 mobile phones stuffed into a pair of tights he was wearing has been jailed after police found him using — an iPhone tracking app.
Ionut Guita, 23, was caught with the devices snatched from revellers at Sundown music festival near, Norwich, in the tights he was wearing under his trousers.
He was tracked down when police were called on September 2, by a 16-year-old girl girl, whose smartphone had been stolen.
The victim used a tracking application she had downloaded on to her phone to trace the device to a McDonald’s restaurant a mile away from the festival.
Officers stormed into the fastfood restaurant and dialled the number of the stolen phone, which rang and gave away the crook’s identity.
Guita, of Corporation Street, London, was hauled before Norwich Magistrates Court in September where he admitted the thefts.
He has now been jailed for a total of 30 months and two weeks after he was sentenced for the crimes at the same time as a separate theft from earlier this year, at Inner London Crown Court.
Detective Sergeant Vicky Flatt, from Norfolk Constabulary’s community safety team said festivals were the perfecting hunting ground for thieves.
She said: “Festivals are ideal hunting grounds for thieves because people in large crowds are less likely to notice a pick-pocket or someone tampering with their bag.
“In this case a ‘find my phone’ application was used to trace the mobile – and we would encourage people with smart phones to make use of these apps.
“We would recommend people take steps to protect and secure their property, and tracking applications can play a part in this as well as registering your mobile at immobilise.com, making a note of your IMEI number and backing up your contacts and files.
“We carried out a lot of work prior to and during the event targeting festival goers with safety and security advice which we hope will have gone some way to preventing further offences.”
“Our efforts in targeting these offenders will continue and I hope the custodial sentence acts as a warning to others.”
Guita was also sentenced for burglary in Stratford on June 13 this year and for failing to surrender.
Tracking applications have become a staple of smartphones, and are installed by users to locate the expensive devices in the event that they are stolen.
The Apple-made Find My iPhone app has been available on the company’s phones since 2009, enabled on the phone’s settings.
To track down a lost or stolen iPhone, users log on to a website that locates the phone using a mix of GPS, Wi-Fi and cell tower data.
The phone’s location is then shown on a map, and the app also allows the phone’s owner to remotely lock the iPhone or remotely erase its contents.