Owner Of Stolen SUV Tracks Cellphone Left Inside, Suspect Caught

By: Brittany Gunter Email
By: Brittany Gunter Email

A thief was quickly apprehended Friday in Omaha after the owner of a stolen vehicle used GPS to track his cellphone, which was left inside the vehicle.

The vehicle was taken from the driveway of a Council Bluffs home. On a cold, snowy morning, the family started their Ford Explorer, warming it up to take their daughter to the hospital for surgery. When they came back outside minutes later, the SUV was gone.

“I was shocked, I was mad, I was disgusted,” said Tiffany Still.

“I thought it was really gutsy to steal right out of someone's driveway,” said Thadeous Smith, who called police and filed a report. He then realized his cellphone was still inside the vehicle and he had a program to track the phone.

“I went on the computer and logged into my Lookout Security and was able to track my phone to the place where my vehicle was." He called police again to let them know. “They basically said they couldn't do anything unless I had the exact address or found the car myself." So he took matters into his own hands.

Smith and a friend went to track the phone. “I was on the computer the whole time while he was driving, giving him directions." They tracked the phone to a home at North 37th Street and Newport Avenue and found the SUV parked nearby. Smith immediately notified Omaha police. Officers came and arrested 20-year-old Vernon Williams.

There were other stolen items inside the home. Williams was booked for theft unlawful taking, receiving a stolen item, possession of burglary tools and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Smith is happy to have his SUV back, but unfortunately it was damaged. “The rear bumper, it looks like they hit something." Smith says his phone was smashed before he was able to get it back.

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