Woman uses iPhone hack to track down muggers who attacked her and stole phone

A resolute woman who was assaulted used another Apple device to track down her iPhone – and the muggers who attacked her.

Sabina, who doesn’t want to give her surname, had her phone and handbag stolen in the vicious street attack last Saturday evening.

The 33-year-old woman told police she could see the location of her device on Apple’s Find My iPhone app but she claims she was told their hands were tied as there was no exact address.

So the determined victim enlisted the help of two friends, who tracked down the handset and chased down the suspected attackers who ditched the phone and fled.

Now, she and her friends have uncovered the name of a suspect.

Police have acknowledged that its standards slipped and say that the investigation is ongoing and that they are following up significant lines of enquiry.

Sabina said: “When they told me that they couldn’t help me get my phone, I felt terrible and awful. And when they told me that no one had been assigned to the case I had to ask them if they were serious.

“I’m lucky that I know a lot of people and have friends on Facebook who helped. They seemed to care more than the police.”

The woman had been walking home alone from the Wardwick pub, in Derby city centre, when she was punched in the face three times and had her handbag and phone stolen from her, before being kicked and punched on the floor by two individuals. The assault only ceased when a passing food delivery driver stopped, causing the attackers to flee.

Sabina, of Derby, said that she thought that she might die in the attack: “After they’d stolen my phone and bag I thought they’d leave because they had everything. But then they started kicking and punching me. It did feel like they were going to kill me because what else did they want?”

Her bag contained all her belongings, including her keys. But it was her missing phone that she was bothered about.

She said: “My life is on my phone. Pictures of my nana who died last year and my daughter are on there. It’s very important and personal to me.”

The day after the attack, Sabina used another Apple device to locate her phone. It was at this point when Sabina rang the police to ask them to investigate, but claims she was told they couldn’t, due to the lack of a definite address.

Instead, she posted on Facebook and, after getting hundreds of responses, found two people willing to help her hunt down the phone. They tracked it to a location in Burton Road and chased down the two suspects who ditched the phone on a patch of grass before escaping again.

She informed the police on Sunday, October 23, before being invited to the station to give a formal statement that night. She was told by an officer that she’d receive a phone call in the morning regarding the ‘important’ photographs of her bruised face and body, as well as to make an appointment for officers to retrieve fingerprints from her mobile phone. But she claims this was the last time she heard from them.

With the help of people she knew, she contacted the guesthouse outside which the assailants had been standing with her phone and eventually uncovered the name of a suspect. She rang the police back on Wednesday, October 26, with all the information she had been given but she says her call was unanswered.

When she tried again on Friday, October 28, she was told the news about the mix-up regarding who was investigating her case.

She said: “I just want them to be arrested. I’m desperate for it because I can’t sleep at night knowing they’re just walking around the streets and I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“I think it’s quite serious that the police haven’t reacted at all. At the police station, they promised me so much help. They told me they could make my house more secure, give me a camera and put a police car outside my house. Little things that make me feel safe. But nothing. I can’t believe they’d just leave it like this.”

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Police said: “On Saturday 22 October we received a report of a robbery of a woman in Abbey Street, Derby. Officers attended the scene and conducted a search but were unable to locate the suspects.

“The following day a number of enquiries were carried out, including a CCTV trawl on the route the victim had walked, as well as house-to-house enquiries. Earlier that same day the victim had contacted the force to explain that an app on her phone showed the current location of the phone – but not a specific address.

“An officer was allocated to carry out intelligence work on the area the phone was shown to be in, however, later that day the victim explained that she had recovered the phone from another area of the city – an area that officers had not been updated about.

“Following a statement being taken on the evening of 23 October there was a delay in the crime being allocated and for a number of days, the victim was not contacted. That was not correct and for that, we have already apologised, and do so again unreservedly.

“In the past days further enquiries have been conducted and the victim is being kept regularly updated by the investigating officer.

“Incidents such as this are taken very seriously by the force and, while the initial contact between the force and the victim was not to the standard that she or we would expect, the investigation is being progressed and there are significant lines of enquiry being followed.”