Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

AirTag and Find My helps traveler bust Brussels theft ring

Last updated

A theft ring in Europe has been busted by a determined victim, who used AirTag and Find My to track down his stolen MacBook and help police secure an arrest within 24 hours.

Formerly of Google AI, Tony Aube was traveling in Brussels, Belgium, to catch a flight and head back home to Canada on Friday night. However, opportunist thieves stole his backpack while he was at the train station.

Explained on X, Aube wasn't able to pursue the thieves due to having other luggage on-hand, but he was able to see where his bag went thanks to using AirTag and Find My. Initial tracking of the AirTag stopped because the thieves had ditched it, but he was able to see the MacBook at midnight that night.

Unfortunately, while he provided the information to the police, the authorities wouldn't act since they needed to know which apartment the bag was in, and the location wasn't precise enough.

The next morning, he saw his MacBook had been located in a different location. Facing a weekend stuck in Brussels while he waited to get a replacement passport, Aube decided to investigate on his own, since the thieves were the reason for his predicament.

He travelled to the second house and waited to see if anyone was entering or leaving. Five hours later, the thieves left the house, and instead of confronting them, Aube followed them around.

The following video contains swearing.

Three hours of following the thieves ensued, with the first location visited happening to be the first place that came up on Find My after the theft. The thieves also visited a local computer store where they sold stolen goods.

After sending the information and photographs to the police, Aube decided to go back to outside the house that the computer was in and called the police again. Six hours later, the thieves returned to the house, which prompted Aube to call the police once again, resulting in an arrest and the return of his property.

It turned out that the thieves were part of a "huge organized theft network," he adds, with hundreds of devices in their possession. The thieves also made an effort to try and thwart tracking systems by wrapping the devices in aluminum.

Aube claims that, had the arrest not occurred, he would've attempted to fly his drone into an open window in the house to film them and take photographs.

While it is tempting to pursue thieves by tracking an AirTag or using Find My, it is generally believed to be a potentially dangerous activity. In some cases, the victim of the crimes have suffered injuries like a broken nose, while others have died carrying out the same actions.