Phone thief foiled by GPS

EVERETT — The stranger grabbed the boy’s cellphone, disappeared into some bushes and was seemingly gone forever.

A few hours later, thanks to modern technology and old-fashioned shoe leather, the long arm of the law was knocking on his door.

The 14-year-old boy can thank his parents for wanting to keep close tabs on him.

His mom had a GPS device on her cellphone to track the whereabouts of his cellphone.

The space-based satellite navigation tool led the boy, his father and a Snohomish County deputy sheriff to a driveway in the 1300 block of 118th Place SW, south of Everett. That’s where the suspect was arrested early Friday morning for investigation of second-degree robbery.

The boy’s mom called 911 after he came home Thursday night to tell his parents that someone had stolen his cellphone while he was hanging out with friends at a baseball park at 12000 Beverly Park Road.

He said he was approached by a stranger with a goatee and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, court papers said. The man was with two other people who, the boy said, seemed to be blocking him from getting by.

The boy agreed to make a call for the man, who grabbed the phone from him as he dialed, court papers said.

The deputy met the boy and his dad in a hardware store parking lot where the boy gave the officer a description of the suspect.

Following the GPS tracking, the deputy went to a neighborhood and knocked on a door of a house near where they were getting the signal. A man living there pointed the deputy to a home of someone matching the suspect’s description.

The deputy had the father and son stay in their car as he approached the door. When the man came to the door, the boy recognized him as the person who stole his cellphone. As planned, the father then blinked his car headlights to indicate a positive identification, court papers said.

The man initially denied any knowledge of the robbery but eventually led the officer to a nearby nature trail and a rockery behind a fence, court papers said. The cellphone was found beneath some leaves.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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