Technology is always a double-edged sword, full of surprises, particularly for those operating just a few cycles behind the state of the art.
Is it safe to assume that Maifala Tusi, 23 and Jerome J. Satele, 21, both of San Francisco, are familiar with the basic idea of Global Positioning System technology?
Oh, well, perhaps not.
How about the fact that iPhone technology incorporates it?
That’d probably be even less likely.
Or um, oh say, if one were to steal an iPhone and then use it, an exact position of that clever device can be pinpointed by anyone with the right software?
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala D. Harris announced today that both men are being charged with robbery and felony possession of stolen property. She claims they were arrested only hours after they are alleged to have robbed a man and stolen his iPhone and his Apple laptop computer.
The DA says that on April 2, 2010, at 9:55 a.m. a 41-year old man was standing on Van Ness Avenue, at Oak Street, holding his laptop computer, when a man approached him and grabbed his laptop away from him.
The robber then fled down the street with it and the man pursued him until he tackled the perpetrator. As they fought, the man’s iPhone fell out of his pocket and another man grabbed it, then ran into a light-colored Lexus, followed by the robber with the laptop.
They drove westbound on Oak St. in the Lexus and when police arrived later to take a report, the man told them he was able to track his iPhone using its GPS with a tracking application on his computer. He logged onto his computer and pulled up the GPS information, which police then broadcast to SFPD dispatch, which in turn disseminated it to all officers in the field.
The GPS indicated that the man’s iPhone was in the area of Egbert and Hawes streets, adjacent to the Alice Griffith Housing Project in the “Double Rock” area of the Bayview district. Officers found a Lexus parked in the area that was close enough to the description and began surveillance.
About an hour later, several people got into the Lexus and drove away with police following. They pulled it over at 6th Street and Clara Alley.
Authorities said that as the police officers made contact, one of them noticed a passenger, identified as Satele, pass an iPhone to a passenger in the right rear seat of the Lexus, which the officer then seized.
The DA claims the alleged victim was driven to the scene and made a positive identification of both Tusi and Satele as the men who robbed him. He also identified the iPhone and the laptop computer as his property.
The District Attorney said in a press release that Tusi committed the robbery “while on court release in his open felony case. … That case stems from an incident on March 19, 2010, where the defendant is alleged to have committed felony second-degree burglary, grand theft, possession of burglary tools and attempted possession of stolen property. He had been out of custody a total of nine days before he allegedly committed the April 2nd robbery.”