New Castle News

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October 12, 2012

Union police get help from ‘on high’

NEW CASTLE — Union Township police may have their feet on the ground but they’re getting answers from a cloud — the iCloud.

Officers arrested James Jones Jr., 24, 1512 Grimes St. He is charged with theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, loitering and prowling at night and disorderly conduct. He was arraigned before District Judge Jennifer Nicholson and remains in the Lawrence County jail on $25,000 bond.

Police said additional charges are pending against Jones and others.

Union Township police were contacted this week by multiple residents of Scotland Lane, East Harbor Road and the area behind Westgate Plaza where numerous vehicles — some locked, others not— were entered and items taken.

One victim provided electronic assistance to police to recover the missing items.

The Harbor Road victim told police a window of his truck had been smashed and his laptop computer, Apple iPhone and charger, a passport and cash were taken.

The iPhone was equipped with an iCloud tracking system application that assists the owner in locating the phone if it is lost or stolen.

Police said the victim logged onto his computer and hit the “find my phone” program. About 30 seconds later, officers said, the iCloud located the missing phone on the upper floor of an apartment building on West State Street. It did not provide police with a street address but identified businesses nearby.

Police contacted Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa for assistance in obtaining a search warrant, based on the iCloud information.

Two Union Township officers, two Mahoning Township officers and three adult probation agents assembled at 1300 W. State St. — the location provided. One of the probation department agents was also a victim of the car break-ins, according to Union police.

Officers found Jones and another man asleep in the living room. The men were taken into custody and a woman and baby were removed from the apartment, police said.

Police found a computer hard drive and prescription pill bottle with the name of the man whose iPhone had been taken in the open and an Apple iPhone under the couch cushions where Jones had been lying.

Officers said they contacted the victim and asked him to call his phone. Within seconds, they said, the phone rang and it was the victim — confirming his phone had been located.

Also in the living room police found a laptop computer, phone charger and Kindle. In the kitchen, a purse containing papers identifying it as belonging to a member of the iPhone owner’s household, was found in the garbage.

Police said they continued to search, found everything taken from all the cars and took Jones into custody.

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