North Carolina police arrested a serial theft suspect using an AirTag, a quarter-sized Apple device meant to help people keep track of their phones or other personal items.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) arrested 22-year-old repeat offender Javiere Green, who is accused of breaking into vehicles and stealing items from 14 different victims, earlier this month in connection to a series of thefts that police are pointing to as an example of how illegal guns are finding their way onto Charlotte's streets.
"One issue that continues to plague the city is guns stolen out of vehicles," CMPD tweeted on Monday. "Recently, officers from North, North Tryon, & Independence Divisions teamed up to arrest a serial criminal who breaks into cars and steals firearms. Pictured are firearms seized from the suspect."
One victim had an Apple AirTag attached to his stolen bag, which led authorities to the suspect.
"Officers were able to track down the stolen property to a residence where the suspect ran from the back door and sped away in a white sedan," the police department said.
Authorities have charged Green with 14 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle; six counts of felony larceny; three counts of possession of a stolen firearm and more. Between 2019 and 2022, Green faced previous charges of possession of a stolen firearm, felony drug possession, resisting an officer, illegally carrying a concealed weapon, assault on a female and injury to personal property, according to county records.
Police say Green is just one example of how criminals are getting their hands on illegal weapons in Charlotte — a growing issue for North Carolina's largest city.
In May alone, CMPD seized 413 firearms — "the most in recent CMPD history going back at least 7 years," the department tweeted.
"Gun seizures are critical to preventing crimes and future violence," CMPD said. "…Amazing work by all the officers involved to get a dangerous suspect into custody and recover stolen firearms. Just a few of the 413 seized last month! Reminder: please don’t leave firearms in your vehicle. Keep them locked up inside your home and out of reach of children."
In this case, an Apple AirTag device led authorities to a potentially dangerous suspect, but there have also been numerous incidents of criminals using the tracking device to stalk victims.
Released in April 2021, the AirTag is a quarter-sized device that Apple describes on its website as "a super-easy way to keep track of your stuff."
Users can attach the $29 AirTag to a phone, a set of keys, or even drop one in a purse to keep track of their items through Apple's "Find My" app, which allows users, as well as their friends and family members, to track Apple devices.
But AirTags have made headlines recently for another reason: Police departments across the country are warning their communities that criminal suspects may be using the devices to track other people — or their vehicles — in a trend dubbed "AirTag stalking." The devices do have certain safety features meant to keep users safe, such as the ability to tell when an AirTag has been separated from its owner.