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California man uses AirTag to confront thief who stole his BMW

Apple AirTag

A man in California was able to use an Apple AirTag and dash cam footage to recover his stolen BMW, though we don't advise following his method.

Philip Obando awoke one morning to find that his BMW was missing. Fortunately for Obando, he had previously hidden an Apple AirTag inside his car in case something like this happened.

Using the Find My app, Obando was able to track the thief as he drove through long beach. The thief slept in the car, swapped out the license plate, and even took it through a car wash.

That's when Obando and his wife decided to track the thief directly, something that police, Apple, and AppleInsider advise against.

Obando told NBC News that he confronted the thief at a local gas station, proving that he owned the car by using a spare key fob to sound the horn. The thief then took off running.

This case is a stark reminder of the risks involved in using GPS tracking devices like AirTags to monitor items such as cars. While the outcome was favorable in this instance, it could have easily escalated into a dangerous situation for all parties.

Recently, a man in Leeds, England, teamed up with police to retrieve his Nissan Pathfinder using an AirTag to track it.

It's important to note the varying stances of law enforcement agencies on the use of AirTags for vehicle tracking. While D.C. and New York City police actively promote their use to deter vehicle theft, San Antonio police have issued a cautionary stance.

It's not just car owners who are using AirTags to track cars, either. Canada's complex car theft ring, which often involves stealing and shipping expensive cars and SUVs around the world, has begun implementing the quarter-sized tracker to mark potential victims.