Car thief tracked using Smartphone app

Updated: 

Car thief tracked using Smartphone app

A Birmingham thief has been jailed after the car he stole was tracked by its owner via a smartphone app.

Opportunistic Andrew Plant stole a Renault Espace from New Canal Street in Digbeth, after spotting the owner had left the keys in the ignition while he popped into a local takeaway.

Unbeknownst to him however, the car's owner had left his iPhone in the car, who quickly thought to remotely access a pre-installed tracker application.

Following the signal to an address in Small Heath, the car's owner alerted police, who arrived and quickly arrested 41-year-old Plant.

He was last week sentenced to 12 weeks in jail by Birmingham Magistrates.

PC Leanne Chapman, from the Birmingham Vehicle Crime Team, said: "While we would never advise residents to leave valuables in their cars overnight, in this instance it has helped to locate the stolen vehicle," reported the Birmingham Mail.

"The thief clearly had no idea the handset had been left in the car, and by using an online app the victim was able to pin-point its exact position and contact police.

"Tracker apps are becoming increasingly common and we would encourage anyone with smart phones, laptops or computer tablets to install tracker software as, if those items are lost or stolen, they're much more likely to get them back.

"We would also remind motorists to never leave their car keys inside their vehicle, even if they are just nipping into a house for a minute or two."

Car crime in Birmingham has been on the decline, with 3,671 incidents reported between April and August this year – around 50 less than the year before.