Bicyclist allegedly steals iPhone during GPS demo

A man allegedly snatches an iPhone out of a woman's hands. What he doesn't know is that she is taking part in a demonstration of a real-time GPS-tracking system. He is arrested within 10 minutes.

I firmly believe there is not a single adult in the world who hasn't, at least at some point in their lives, stolen something.

Most get away with it. They steal cutlery from a restaurant. They steal pastries from a buffet. And their guilt is slight. However, please imagine just how one alleged thief might have felt Wednesday in San Francisco.

Riding along on his bike, perhaps he thought to himself that he had found the perfect moment to steal an iPhone. For there was a woman on the sidewalk brandishing one of the world's most precious, if slightly imperfect, instruments.

This biker was riding South of Market Street, an area where anything goes, and many things go quickly. So how could he not imagine that he might not soon be sitting at a bar, impressing those around him with his Life Grip, the new three-fingered way to hold your iPhone?

This alleged bike thief, unfortunately, had his star sign in retrograde. Perhaps he had earlier walked beneath a ladder. Perhaps he had espied a black cat. For, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Horatio Toure had ridden straight into a company's demonstration of a nifty real-time GPS-tracking system.

This system, called Alert and Respond, is the brainspawn of Covia Labs. Yes, these are the people whose soul revolves around the idea of "unifying communications and control."

CC Bruce Turner/Flickr

Alas, poor Horatio had no idea that, if he had looked down at the screen of his newly purloined iPhone he would have actually seen himself, riding along a map of San Francisco.

You see, Covia's CEO, David Kahn, had asked an assistant, Jordan Sturm, to waft out onto the sidewalk so that he could track her progress. Or, at least, that of the phone. Covia was showing off his product's prowess to some PR people.

"What are the odds," Kahn told the Chronicle, "that you would grab someone's cell phone during a demonstration of the ability to track the phone's location in real time? That's what this unfortunate thief did."

I am sure that orders for Alert and Respond, originally intended for use by the armed forces and the police, will soar through all possible parameters, when people hear that Toure was reportedly captured within 10 minutes of his daring swoop.

And it's not as if Kahn even activated all the system's wonderful features. He didn't turn on the microphone, which would have allowed him to hear the thief's gloating. He didn't remotely take a snapshot of the thief's happy features.

So, please, should you be thinking of stealing an iPhone, please consider that, should the phone happen to have Alert and Respond, you might, like Toure, be charged with grand theft and possession of stolen property.

You might also never enjoy such bad luck ever again.

 

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