Thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of electronics from a D.C. home and even got away with the homeowner's car. The burglary victims said they tracked the thieves down using an iPhone app, but they claim they were not getting any help from the police.
Two different police departments essentially told these homeowners they were on their own despite them providing an exact location of where at least one of their stolen computers pinged just three hours after the burglary.
"I don’t know how anybody didn’t hear anything,” said Bill Daniels. “I hear my neighbors through my walls and they kicked the door through. They completely kicked it out."
Daniels’ basement door was kicked in and his house on this quiet block of Northeast D.C. was ransacked.
"They went through all the doors, pulled stuff out,” he said.
Daniels had just left for work Monday and his fellow burglary victim, Bobby Bain, was out in Seattle on business. Three dogs were the only ones home at the time. Two of them were locked in the bathroom by the thieves.
“They clearly knew we were gone, clearly,” Daniels said.
The thieves got away with two iMac computers, two large flat screen televisions, an iPad and a TAG Heuer watch.
“They didn’t touch our gift cards that they could have taken easily with no traceability,” said Daniels. “They didn’t touch our credit cards, our debit cards. They didn’t touch anything that could tie them back financially."
But they stole their car keys and their car.
"I was looking at the log on the phone and they were bypassing the sensor from the door downstairs,” said Bain.
What appeared to be professional thieves got away and left no trace until Daniels and Bain checked their phones and the Find My iPhone app, which pinged with a location in Laurel, Maryland.
"When your Mac logs into the internet or the wireless or any type of network, it pings back to Apple [and] Apple shoots me an email."
They asked D.C. police to look into it. They said police had already taken an hour to respond and never even dusted for fingerprints.
"They have to wait 24 hours before the case in their computer system can be opened so another officer can even see it,” Daniels explained.
D.C. police still hasn't assigned a detective to the case and officers in the Fifth District suggested they check with Howard County police.
"She said I’m really sorry, but the case is in D.C., it happened in D.C., so we need a D.C. officer to give us a call and request that we go out there,” said Daniels.
They tried D.C. police again and the response they got was not the one they were hoping for. They told Daniels, “Oh well, you guys could just take a drive out there and if it's there, call the police.”
The Fifth District commander reached back to the homeowners and wrote he was "amazed" at the response they received from an officer, adding the information was "totally erroneous and not what their training encompasses." He said he will address the issue as this technology is one the criminal investigations unit has used on a regular basis to close many cases.