LAPORTE COUNTY | Built in tracking devices in iPads, laptop computers and other new forms of technology are making it simple for police to close the books on cases involving theft.
Police here said Nicholas Rife was caught with a stolen iPad by officers who were able to close in on his exact location.
"More and more products have some form of electronic capabilities on them," said LaPorte County Police Detective Andy Hynek.
Rife, 33, of LaPorte, is charged in LaPorte Circuit Court with three counts of Class B felony burglary.
One of the counts involves an iPad with a tracking device that helped police link him to an alleged late November residential break-in near Michigan City.
According to police, the stolen iPad was quickly tracked to a home on Lindsay Lane outside LaPorte.
Numerous sheriff's deputies converged and waited outside until a vehicle outside the home pulled away.
Police said the tracking beacon indicated the stolen iPad was now in the vehicle that was followed by officers until making a traffic stop in the 4700 block of West Johnson Road, two miles west of LaPorte.
Hynek said buyers of iPads and other electronic items with built in tracking devices can download an app on their device enabling them to track the device if ever stolen or misplaced.
Officers also are equipped with the same tracking technology and need from the victim a username and password to begin tracking their missing item, he said.
Hynek said it's OK for victims of theft to track their stolen items to a specific area but not to try to confront the suspected thief.
Police should be called right away to move in on a suspect, he said.
"We don't want people taking it into their own hands and creating a situation that's more dangerous to them and other people," Hynek said.
He advised people after purchase to jot down the product's serial number so if their electronic device is ever stolen the number can be matched to the item if it's ever recovered.
That helps get their property back and assists police in proving a case against an individual caught with the stolen product.