GPS-enabled services on iPhones and iPads have been credited with recovering two stolen trucks in New Zealand worth thousands of dollars, according to Stuff. Auckland police used location features to not only recover the stolen property—US$17,000 worth of toilet paper—to also nab the culprits and sometimes a larger criminal operation. The toilet paper heist was part of a larger stolen-to-order operation that led to the arrest of four people.
In a similar case, a truck valued at over $51,000 (US) was discovered missing. The owner activated the tracking feature on their iPhone and called police with the location where the truck was found inside a barn. An arrest was made.
In another iOS-involved case, a man had his iPad stolen. He activated the MobileMe tracking feature and called police to that location. Not only was the missing iPad recovered but also his mobile phone (which was presumably not an iPhone). In yet another case, a phone was tracked down, police were called, and a man was charged with receiving stolen property.
In a different turn of events, a stolen iPhone was tracked down but not recovered. The stolen vehicle that was being used by the perpetrator was recovered, however. There was even a case, in Australia, where a helicopter was used to track down an iPhone that was stolen from a woman in a hospital.
Setting up the MobileMe tracking feature in your iPhone or iPad take only a handful of minutes. These cases prove that it’s a useful service not just for the device owner, but for law enforcement as well.