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Alleged Smartphone Robber Stymied By Mobile App

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Want to catch the bad guy who stole your mobile phone? There’s an app for that!

The application to track your phone by using Global Positioning Satellite is available on just about every smartphone. And it came in handy as a crime-solving tool for one local guy.

Chris Mochinski, known as Mo, plays guitar in the local band, ReadyGoes.

He never thought he’d be endorsing a mobile phone app, but he also never thought he’d get his phone stolen. It happened when he went to make a deposit at his bank and set the phone down for a second.

“Me, of course, I’m in disbelief,” said Mochinski. “Well, maybe I left it at home, but I just put it there, you know.”

He was about to pay $90 to get a replacement. But then he remembered the mobile recovery app he had, so he went to a computer.

“(I) brought that up and I did it, and I could see it,” he said. “Exactly where it was — walking down the street.”

Mochinski called up a friend and asked if he wanted to go on a “little adventure” with him.

They drove to the apartment building where the GPS was tracking his phone.

“We could actually see it,” he said. “Every time I refreshed I could see it moving around different parts of the apartment. And it said it was accurate within three meters.”

Rather than going inside, they called the cops.

“Two skinny dudes just busting down the door like, ‘give me my phone back,’ not the best idea,” said Mochinski.

“I would strongly suggest they have the police go along,” said Sgt. Bill Palmer of the Minneapolis Police.

Palmer said the police have had other cases like this, but not a lot. He recommends that anyone should call police to report the stolen phone first, before tracking it down with GPS.

“Who knows, has this phone traded hands?” said Palmer. “Is it now in a crack house or somewhere like that?”

When they sounded the alarm from the app, police arrested a man, identified as Anthony Magnan, and charged him with theft.

Now, Mochinski is recommending the app.

The app is part of Verizon’s Total Equipment Recovery plan which costs $10 a month. The iPhone has a similar product called Find My Phone for $99 a year.

By the way, Mochinski’s band will have a new album out next month.

Joan Gilbertson, Producer
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