Alleged Smartphone Robber Stymied By Mobile App

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
Contact Joan

  • Pirate

    There are also several quality apps that are free, at least on the android, that can do the same thing without the monthly fee.

  • The Dude


  • David

    Nice article but what’s up with not saying the word “android”?

  • Singer

    Good story about catching thieves. We need more of that!
    And more utilities to prevent theft.

  • M B

    Okay, financially, this app service is totally crazy. Think about it: $10 bucks a month or $120 a year for the service, or $90 for a new phone.

    Huh. Looks like more fleecing from the cell phone carriers for overpriced services.

    Imagine that.

    • just sayin.

      Very true. But then again, some people might have things on their phones that are priceless. I guess it Just depends on the person.

  • Kevin N

    My friend was jumped in Minneapolis and had his wallet and phone stolen. He was able to tell the police where the phone ended up (via GPS, like in this article), and even with that specific information the police wouldn’t do anything.

    I am not anti-police, at all, but it seems odd to me that my friend was assaulted and robbed and the police wouldn’t lift a finger, yet this guy simply had his phone swiped and the police had no problem knocking on the door where the phone was believed to have been.

  • mo

    The app is free…insurance on the phone is about 8 bucks a month, covering everything from water damage to lost phones to your drunk girlfriend smashing it.

  • Tonya Magnan

    This is a case of a guy buying a used cell phone not knowing it was stolen. To have your name & picture on the news for this seems a little extreme. I think U did this for publicity & imagine how the “alleged smart phone robber” feels for the publicity he got for buying a phone that he did not know was stolen!

  • Buhler

    How would one not know if an ACTIVATED phone isn’t stolen? “Hey, want to buy my phone? It works, don’t worry, I’ll keep paying the monthly bill.” Stupid people shouldn’t breed.

  • Tonya Magnan

    Your right stupid people should not breed then you probably would not have been born. You are making comments on something you apprently have little knowledge of. When you have T-mobile it has a removable sim card. All that has to be done is remove the sellers sim & insert yours. When this is done you are making & receiving calls on your own cell phone account. In Fact the “alleged smart phone robber” has T-mobile for his cell phone service. Many people remove the sim card & sell their phones on e-bay etc.

  • Buhler

    On the contrary, I know very much about cell phones. I do also know the owner of the phone that was stolen, he has Verizon, which doesn’t have a SIM card;therefore, my previous statement stands.

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