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Gotcha! Dopey thief caught on victim’s camera

The image of the man wanted by police in connection with the theft of the phone.

The image of the man wanted by police in connection with the theft of the phone.

This is the moment a thief unknowingly sent a picture of himself trying to unlock a stolen phone – to the man he pinched it from.

Thanks to an app on the victim’s smartphone, when the hapless thief tried five times unsuccessfully to get past the device’s security settings, it took a picture and emailed it straight to the rightful owner.

After trying unsuccessfully to identify the culprit, now David Rushton is hoping a Gazette reader might be able to shed some light on who took his phone.

To make matters slightly easier, the picture was geo-tagged using the handset’s GPS feature, meaning Mr Rushton can see where on the Fylde coast it was taken.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the victim was out in Poulton and left his Samsung Galaxy S4 phone in his jacket pocket.

Just hours after realising it was missing, he received the photo showing the thief struggling to unlock the phone, which was apparently taken somewhere in Wesham.

PC Kevin Berry, of Wyre’s planned response team, based in Fleetwood, said: “The phone itself has sent a photograph of the person attempting to unlock it several hours later. The victim has done a lot of door-knocking himself but he has not come up with anything.

“We believe the phone was taken between 1am and 2am and four hours later somebody has tried to crack the PIN code on it.”

Mr Rushton was in one of Poulton’s late-night licenced premises at the time the phone was taken, although it is not known which one.

Anyone with information about the incident or who recognises the person in the photo is asked to call PC Kevin Berry at Fleetwood Police station on 101.

Smartphones get clever to catch thieves

Apps like the one used by David Rushton to protect his phone can help track down a lost or stolen phone.
Some work by using the in-built GPS device on most modern phones to locate them, in much the same way as a car’s satelite navigation.
In this case, Mr Rushton has installed an app called Lookout that is triggered when someone incorrectly enters the phone’s PIN code or password five times.
It means he can help police trying to track down the phone – and even have it emit a loud alarm.

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