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AirTag tracks down carjacked car used in a shootout

An AirTag on a keyring

A family's decision to use multiple AirTags with their car helped speed up its return, after it was jacked by a thief and was shot at.

Tracking devices like AirTags are becoming more common as a means to secure valuable items. However, thieves are keenly aware that they may be tracked long after the crime was committed.

In the case of one family in Washington D.C., their preparedness helped keep their vehicle trackable, despite attempts by the thief to evade tracking.

The Settler family was carjacked by a man with a pistol in South East D.C., according to ABC7 News. "I was unloading the car and a man came up on this side, of me, and showed me a pistol," explained Sean Setter.

After demanding the keys, the carjacker then took off with the family car, followed by a red car and an accomplice that helped the thief.

Settler then explained that, as a precautionary measure, they wanted to include AirTags in the car so that they could keep track of its location. A decision that certainly helped in this situation.

Two AirTags were kept in the car, with one on the keyring and one hidden in the vehicle. The AirTags were also recorded to his wife's account, so were quickly able to be pulled up on her iPhone.

Shortly after departing, the thief threw the husband's iPhone out of the vehicle at RFK Stadium, and also tossed the keyring AirTag. However, they didn't find the other hidden AirTag.

The result was that the police were able to locate the car just over an hour after it had been stolen.

While the car was recovered, it was deemed to have been totaled by the insurance company, due to the wear it had undergone in a short space of time. Damage from driving through yards led to an oil pan leak, and it had also suffered a bullet wound on one side after being involved in a shootout.

Police made an arrest on the case one day after the carjacking took place.

The family did the right thing by contacting the police and leaving it to law enforcement to track the vehicle, as not every instance where an owner went after a tracked thief goes well.

In another vehicle theft case in April where AirTag was used to track the vehicle, the suspected thief was shot in a stolen truck by its owners. In August 2022, a New York Man went after motorbike thieves using AirTag, but ended the encounter with a broken nose.