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A GPS Parable: Caught Red-Wristed

Generally speaking, location-tracking is a consumer scourge that too few mobile device owners completely understand, from a privacy and security standpoint. But for one smartwatch owner in Oregon, GPS pinpointing yielded some sweet justice.

According to a local TV station, KATU, a woman whose car was broken into over the weekend took it upon herself to track down the thief. The victim, one Shannon Coates, had taken advantage of the good weather to go on a two-hour bike ride to Multnomah Falls. She parked near Glenn Otto Park, and when she got back, she found glass broken in all over the backseat of her Jeep – an all too common scenario for bikers and hikers.

The thief took a limited-edition Louis Vuitton wallet, a speaker and her Timex watch, an Ironman edition. In all, the loot was worth around $1200.

“Panic. Violation. It was just shock really,” Coates said.

But it was the watch to the rescue, thanks to its GPS chip.

“I could know exactly where it is,” she said, adding that she got her laptop out and within minutes had tracked the watch to Southeast Portland. “Little did he know the watch that he stole bit back,” she said.

Using the information, police were able to locate Joseph Damon Patterson, 42, with the watch on his wrist. He was arrested for theft and menacing, and was found to be in violation of his probation. Coates’ wallet was in his car, too

“I do have a level of caution now. Unfortunately, my eyes are a little wider now,” Coates told KATU.

Bottom line? Features like Find My iPhone and GPS locators in watches can be breathtakingly useful—as long as you’re the one looking to do the tracking.

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