Robbery victims use cell tracking to find stolen items - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Robbery victims use cell tracking to find stolen items

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EAST BRAINERD, TN (WRCB) -

A trio of alleged thieves are behind bars after an armed robbery at a home in East Brainerd. They got there thanks to the victims' quick thinking and tech skills.

Many of us keep a wealth of personal information on our smart phones, but what if it gets stolen? A group of local men say that's why you should install a security and tracking app on your device. It even helped them land some robbery suspects in jail.

It was just a regular late night video game session that lasted into the early morning hours on July 18th, when Tyler Stansell, Ronald Harmon and their friend, Justin, became crime victims.

"I went to bed around 3:30, and around 6:30 a.m., three black males came in with T-shirts tied around their heads, put a gun in my friends' faces and took our laptops, our smart phones, the keys to my car and then drove away with my vehicle," Stansell said.

Still in disbelief, the guys alerted the police. A few hours later, Harmon's tech skills gave him an idea.

He Googled tracking devices for smart phones that you can install remotely.

"Normally on a smart phone, you have to download the app from your phone, but they found one called Plan B that you can download from the computer to the phone," Stansell said.

Plan B doesn't work on every smart phone, but it worked on Justin's phone.

"Ten minutes after the installation, it will email you the exact location of where it is, updating roughly every one to two minutes. From that point, we contacted 911 to send somebody down there," Harmon said.

The police were able to return all the stolen items within six hours of the incident.

"It was like Christmas morning, except we got stuff we already had," Stansell said.

Since then, the guys made sure to install a tracking and security app on their phones. Turns out, there are a lot of options.

"I've pre-installed one to very easily locate my phone. I can make it ring, as well as wipe stuff off my phone so no one can get my personal information," Harmon said.

He's talking about an app called Lookout Securities. It's free and works on Androids, iPhones and even iPads. It'll track the phone, clear the data and even scream at the push of a button.

Harmon hopes their story will inspire others to be proactive and download one of these apps. He also has a message to criminals.

"If you see a group of guys on a bunch of computers, they're probably going to outsmart you so don't mess with them," he said.

The three suspects are each facing several charges including aggravated robbery and theft of property.

Click here for information on Plan B. Click here for information on Lookout Securities.

There are a number of security and tracking apps available for smart phones. Just search on your phone's app store to find the one that's right for you.

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