App Leads Police To Suspect In Santa Cruz Smartphone Robbery

SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — A robbery victim in Santa Cruz used a smartphone app Thursday to help police track a stolen phone to a man who was walking out of a donut shop with the phone beeping in his pocket, police said.

The victim had left a wallet and smartphone in a truck on Harvey West Boulevard while watching youth football. After returning to the truck he found both missing, according to Santa Cruz police.

Using the “Find my Phone” app, the victim was able to locate the purloined phone at the Homeless Services Center at 115 Coral St., police said.

After a Santa Cruz police officer arrived, the victim and the officer proceeded to track the phone as the suspect moved across a pedestrian footbridge over the San Lorenzo River to Felker Street, police said.

They then tracked the phone to the Ferrell’s Donut Shop at 1403 Ocean St., police said.

Once they reached the donut shop, the victim sent an alert to the stolen phone, triggering a beeping sound from it, police said.

When the suspect came out of the shop, holding a coffee and a donut, the officer and victim heard the phone beeping non-stop from the suspect’s pocket, police said.

The officer placed the suspect, Dennis Allen Ballard, 45, under arrest on suspicion of the burglary, police said.

The officer found Ballard in possession of the victim’s phone, wallet and credit cards, plus some burglary tools, quantities of cocaine and heroin and a watch believed to have been stolen, police said.

Ballard, a transient, had been arrested eight times so far this year and is on probation for multiple convictions, police said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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