A young woman’s RadPower RadRunner Plus electric cargo bike was stolen from her home in Aliso Viejo, California. Johnny Ehrman got home from work to discover her bike was missing. She had hidden an Apple AirTag on the bike, and she and her dad, David Ehrmann, tracked down the e-bike using the FindMy app.
Airtags are small, easily hideable trackers that can help find lost objects. They are similar to Tile trackers, though the AirTags use a larger network of iPhones and iOS devices (e.g. iPads) to help owners find the AirTags using the iOS FindMy features. They use Bluetooth for communication and don’t have built-in GPS, like Invoxia trackers that use GPS and cellular networks for tracking.
The Ehrmans called the Orange County, CA Sheriff’s department, who sent deputies out to the location. The person there denied any knowledge of the bike, then the Johnny and her dad saw the bike on the move. Johnny had removed the battery and put a small U-lock through the frame and front sprocket, but had not locked the bike to a stationary physical object.
David went to the location, a nearby apartment complex, where they found the thief with an angle grinder, trying to remove the lock. David grabbed the bike and turned around and walked away with it.
The crook seemed surprised that he was found this way. “The dude just stood there with the look on his face like I’ve never seen anyone with that look,” he said.
The Ehrmans felt like the Sheriff’s department didn’t do enough. Sergeant Mike Woodroof, Public Information Officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said, “Pursuing its recovery in a vigilante manner because the GPS Device depicts its location could place you into a physically dangerous predicament…”