Smart phone, dumb suspects: iPhone theft victim becomes high-tech detective

Smart phone, dumb suspects: iPhone theft victim becomes high-tech detective

These images of strangers turned up in a Houston woman's iCloud after her iPhone was stolen from a Galleria store. (Faces blurred as the suspects, some who are minors, are now being questioned by police.)

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by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News

KMOV.com

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 1:56 PM

HOUSTON – Smart phones are expensive and that makes them a very popular target among thieves. But this is a story about a phone that’s apparently smarter than the people who stole it.

Chau Nguyen was at the Houston Galleria’s Hello Kitty store with her children when she put her iPhone in her stroller pocket.

Within seconds, it was gone.

"I turned around and said, ‘My phone’s missing’ and the clerk said, ‘I saw some girls in here,’" Nguyen said. "At that point, I called the phone company to turn off the phone."

The phone was turned off, but its camera wasn’t. So imagine Nguyen’s surprise when she noticed photos of complete strangers being automatically uploaded to her iCloud.

"As I’m looking through my photostream, photos start showing up of the supposed culprits—a couple of teenage girls just like the clerk described," said Nguyen.

Nguyen used her iPhone tracker, which traced the phone to Allen Parkway Village near downtown. She called police. When officers arrived at the address in question, a woman identified the girls in the photos as her cousins, adding they had just left.

"The phone is still missing," said Nguyen. "The girls in our photos are still missing in action. This is a $600 phone. This is real theft, not fun and games."

Nguyen still holds out hope of getting her phone back.

There’s no way of knowing whether the girls in the photos are the ones who stole the phone, but police definitely want to talk with them.

The girls who appeared in these photos have since been detained for questioning by police.

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