Two Chicago men were arrested for a $1.1 million armored truck armed robbery after being tracked down via an AirTag hidden amongst the money.
The AirTag is a controversial quarter-sized tracking device made by Apple. It is meant to help users keep track of objects like keychains and backpacks, but they have been used for different, sometimes nefarious purposes.
According to a report from Chicago's WGN9, a hidden AirTag led to the arrest of two men who stole $1.1 million from an armored Brink truck. The device was hidden in one of the plastic money bins, likely placed there by the asset owner.
The men removed seven plastic bins containing about $100,000 each and ten deposit bags worth $50,000 each. After transporting the stolen money across town and through a few hiding spots, the money and the AirTag arrived at the suspect's hideout.
Apple's AirTag, witness testimony, and various traffic cams led authorities to a residential address. Police recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash hidden in the ceiling and basement.
"They were created for lost goods and Apple doesn't advertise them being used for recovering stolen items, but they're certainly being used for that more and more," said retired FBI agent and CEO of Veracity IIR, Doug Kouns. "Perhaps the owner of that particular branch of the company was safeguarding themselves by randomly throwing an AirTag in every so many bags or bins, and in this case it worked out."
One of the suspects was wanted for a previous armed vehicle robbery and was already being searched for by the FBI. The single AirTag helped locate the men and the thousands of dollars that had been stolen.
Apple strongly advises that the AirTag is a theft deterrent at best and never meant to be used to track stolen devices. If something is suspected to be stolen and has an AirTag tracker, alert the police rather than attempting to get the device back yourself.