Roommates track down crooks using smartphone app

Roommates track down crooks using smartphone app

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by BORA KIM / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @BoraKimWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 1:02 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 1:20 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Last Monday, roommates Marcus Miller and Corey Thompson became real-life detectives.
 
Miller woke up to find his cell phone missing.
 
“After I went into my bedroom, I saw the ring boxes had been flipped over and realized I’ve been broken into,” he said.
 
A man entered their unlocked apartment in uptown as they slept.     
               
“I didn't realize anything of mine was actually gone for a while until I was about to go to work. My wallet and car keys were gone,” said Thompson.
 
What the thief didn’t know, Miller was on his trail. He had downloaded a free app called “LookOut,” and tracked his cellphone location in realtime.
 
"He came up as driving down I-26, headed towards Columbia,” said Miller.
 
"Basically what we did is hit the refresh button and it shows the exact location of where he is at within three meters. So we copied the latitude and longitude positions and pasted that over to Google maps to see which police stations were nearby,” said Thompson.
 
Since the suspect was on the move, the duo reached out to several police departments.
 
They finally got in touch with an Horry County police officer on his cell phone.
 
"He understood what was happening; he was very on the ball and had him pulled over within probably 10, 15 minutes.”
 
Miller says it will be just a matter of time before most criminals are stopped in their tracks.
 
“I would see in the not too distant future, it would be virtually impossible to steal anything,”
 
"If it wasn't for Lookout, I would have no clue where my phone was,” said Miller. 
 
“And my car would be down somewhere in South Carolina,” said Thompson.
 
The man under arrest for the theft had several warrants out on him.  The roommates got their stolen items within hours of filing the initial police report.
 
The makers of the app say they currently have 45 million users.

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