Man says stolen smartphone recovered after WDRB investigation - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Man says stolen smartphone recovered after WDRB investigation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A man who says his smartphone was ripped from his hands now says it has been recovered by Louisville Metro Police -- and he credits a WDRB investigation, in part, for its recovery.

"Thank you so much for the great story," Ben Gierhart wrote in an e-mail. "I think it made all the difference and was no small part in the phone's being recovered. Thanks!"

Gierhart says he plans to pick the phone up at the LMPD property room Thursday afternoon.

Police say a 16-year-old has been arrested in connection with the stolen smartphone, and that no further information will be released, due to the fact that the suspect is a juvenile.

On Wednesday night, WDRB's Emily Mieure reported the story. Gierhart said his phone was snatched from his hands on a city bus and that he could see every photo the alleged thief took, thanks to cloud-based technology.

"He just grabbed the phone out of my hand and ran," Gierhart told WDRB.

On Feb. 21, Gierhart says he was riding a TARC bus when a man stole his cell phone.

"I shouted, maybe, but I was just so shocked that I didn't really do anything, and he was just gone," he explained.

With no time to react, Gierhart decided to file a police report.

"I got home and called the police and they sent a civilian police reporter and that's how I filed the report," he said.

But weeks have gone by and since then, Gierhart has kept a close eye on the target.

"All the photos that are taken on the phone are backed up onto my Google drive, so week after week, or day after day, even, I've been getting these pictures, these selfies, group pictures and all kinds of random crazy things," said Gierhart.

So he can literally see the person using his phone.

He says the man has taken upwards of 100 pictures in the last two weeks.

Gierhart was also using a program called Google Dashboard that tracked his mobile device.

"It's kind of intermittently allowing me to see where the phone is in real time," he said.

So Gierhart said he called police again and told them he could see where his phone was.

"They said the best they could do was have me go to the place and they would meet me on the way and they could escort me and I could ask for my phone back. That just seemed kind of, a little dangerous and passive."

The Google dashboard technology doesn't give you the house number, but it does zero in on the exact location so WDRB went to track down the phone.

Our crew found what they believed to be the right house Wednesday evening.

WDRB showed one of the Google drive pictures to the person who answered the door.

WDRB was told the man pictured lived there but wasn't home.

"I mean it was something that I owned and it was taken from me so there's the principle of the matter. I just wish someone would have gotten to me a lot sooner."

WDRB spoke with the detective working the case Wednesday night, but he wouldn't take questions.

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