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Florida authorities have arrested a suspected serial luggage thief thanks to an Apple AirTag — a device that allows Apple customers to keep track of their personal items.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) arrested Giovanni De Luca, 19, after the agency’s Airport Security Unit “became aware of suspicious activity” involving various items stolen from the Destin–Fort Walton Beach Airport.
“This arrest is an example of excellent teamwork by our Airport Security Unit, our Investigators, and the Airport to find the person responsible for these thefts and make sure he is held responsible,” Sheriff Eric Aden said in a Facebook post last week.
Two travelers reported their luggage stolen in July and August after their bags never arrived at their destinations. The travelers’ luggage contained a combined total of nearly $17,000 worth of items and jewelry, according to OCSO.
The traveler who reported her bag stolen in July told authorities that her Apple AirTag pinged at a location in Mary Esther, Florida.
Investigators cross-referenced employees who lived in that area and made “consensual contact” with De Luca at his home, where they recovered the items reported missing in August.
The suspect admitted to going through the other traveler’s bag and removing her Apple AirTag. Her bags have not been recovered, according to the sheriff’s office.
De Luca, an airline subcontractor, is currently facing two counts of grand theft.
While Apple AirTags can lead police to suspected criminals, they have also been abused by criminals to track and stalk victims in a trend dubbed “AirTag stalking,” according to various local police departments. The devices do have certain safety features meant to keep users safe, such as the ability to tell when an AirTag has been separated from its owner.
Released in April 2021, the AirTag is a quarter-sized device that Apple describes on its website as “a super-easy way to keep track of your stuff.”
Users can attach the $29 AirTag to a phone, a set of keys, or even drop one in a purse to keep track of their items through Apple’s “Find My” app, which allows users, as well as their friends and family members, to track Apple devices.