Feb 23, 2010 11:15 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Woman uses GPS to track down stolen cell phone

A Minneapolis woman used technology to track down a high-tech phone after her purse was stolen earlier this month.

Liz Reich says she felt compelled to take matters into her own hands. "I was just so angry, I just felt so taken advantage of," says Reich.

A few weeks ago Liz and her fiancé Brian Amiot were walking on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge when someone on a bike swiped Liz's purse. Her credit cards, keys, cash and a high tech cell phone were all gone. They called police and then went home.


With the help of their cell phone company, Brian turned on the missing phone's tracking device. And using GPS, he found out exactly where the phone was located.

With a satellite image and address in hand, Liz and Brian drove there the next day. "I was nervous, but I had to say I was more angry than anything," says Liz.

The man who answered the door didn't know anything about Liz's phone. But a few minutes later they watched the man leave.

"Brian did the GPS locator again on his phone and my phone was moving down the street in the same direction as the man was," says Liz.

It didn't take long to find the phone dumped in a snow bank, no thanks to police say Liz and Brian. After officers responded to their initial call they say they received no more help.

"There is a process, obviously with a report being taken before the report is handed to an investigator. So during that lag time we ask them not to go out and solve these crimes themselves. They could get hurt. They could get injured and something bad could happen," says Sgt. Jesse Garcia with the Minneapolis Police Department.

Liz and Brian say they know they probably took an unnecessary risk tracking down the phone themselves, but say it was just too frustrating to know where the phone was and do nothing about it.

Someone eventually turned in the stolen purse. No arrests have been made yet.



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