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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Smart App, Smart Cop

NYPD officer Ashleigh Sofia uses iPhone app to collar an alleged 15-year-old phone-snatcher
The New York Daily News by Kerry Burke and Denis Slattery - March 2, 2012
"Find My iPhone" perfect for detective work

NYPD OFFICER Ashleigh Sofia put her Find My iPhone app to good use just 15 minutes after she downloaded it by tracking down a 15-year-old who snatched an iPhone from a woman who was texting as she walked down a SoHo street. “It just turned into an advantage,” said Sofia, who’s assigned to the 1st Precinct. “It was a good day. We made somebody happy.” That somebody is Angela Mar, a 29-year-old upper West Side woman who was robbed on Wooster St. Thursday night. She called police, and when Sofia and her partner, Officer Ben Vultaggio, showed up, Mar knew exactly what to do. “She said there’s an app for that,” Vultaggio remembered. “She was excited. She had the app. She said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ” Sofia’s quick action took Mar by surprise. “I had forgotten it [the app\] was even on my phone until the police asked,” she explained. “When I bought the phone, the salesman suggested it, but I never thought about it again.” Using the identification number from Mar’s cell phone, the officers tracked the stolen phone, first to Sixth Ave., then to the Spring St. C train station. The suspect had left the station, but Mar’s phone was still within range. Anti-crime officers, alerted by the partners, saw the suspect toss the phone into a trash can about three blocks away at Broome St. and W. Broadway. Police grabbed the phone and the boy. He was charged as a juvenile with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and resisting arrest. Sofia downplayed the arrest. "If something this small can make someone happy, then we're happy for her,” she said of Mar.

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