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AirTag & police save builder from massive stolen car replacement expense

A worksman left his car keys on the dash, and the vehicle was promptly stolen. Apple's AirTag came to the rescue.

Builder Paul Conway from Leeds in England has told local news site Leeds Live that at Christmas, his wife had bought a four-pack of AirTags for their keys. With one spare, he had decided to leave it in his Nissan Pathfinder SUV just in case he ever forget where he had parked it.

Months later, one of his workers who had been using the car, told him that it had been stolen. "I started shaking, I couldn't believe it as the car is my pride and joy," said Conway.

"I was just sat there shaking and I remembered I had the AirTag in my car," he continued, "so I went onto the app and saw it heading out of Leeds and into Bradford."

"We followed the signal and phoned the police, who offered to drive me around looking for it," said Conway. "It was just there, hidden on a quiet residential street."

It's dangerous to pursue thieves, but in this case Conway had police help — and also greater motivation than solely retrieving the car.

"I knew [the worker had] left the keys on the seat so it wouldn't have been insured," he said. "So I would have been devastated if I hadn't got it back because I wouldn't have been covered for it."

Apple's AirTag can be used for good or evil

In this case, a $29 AirTag saved Conway the cost of replacing his SUV, which would have been a minimum of $35,000. Since their launch in 2021, Apple's AirTags have proved to be a truly revolutionary device that has saved money, recovered stolen cars, tracked lost luggage, and more.

They have also been used for stalking, but Apple included anti-stalking measures at launch — and it also brought attention to a troubling field. Rival tracking devices had been around for many years with no anti-stalking protection at all, but now even those are changing.

It's still not enough and any one stalking incident is one too many. But, alongside heightened awareness, Apple has been steadily adding more protection.

So overall, AppleInsider strongly recommends AirTags. As well as the direct and specific benefits when an item goes missing, the device also gives owners piece of mind.

Since his incident, Conway says he's become an evangelist for AirTags, and that "loads of builders have said they are going to order them." He reports that a UK scaffolding company is now offering free AirTags to its customers, because of his experience.

This is far from the first time an AirTag has led to the recovery of a stolen car, and it's not even the first time that it's been done with an SUV. In January 2024, a driver had his GMC Yukon XL stolen in Toronto — and it then resurfaced in Belgium, some 3,745 miles way.

In comparison, Paul Conway's Nissan Pathfinder was reportedly only taken five miles.