Smartphone app leads Brookside teen down thief’s trail, helping police arrest suspect

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A smartphone app helped a Brookside family track down their stolen property taken during a home burglary.

Where they found it -- might surprise you.

The family says someone broke into their home while they were there, but surprisingly the thief only took a cell phone. Nineteen-year-old Abbey was able to track down her mom's stolen phone using the "Find my iPhone app."

“I followed it around for a little bit and it never really stopped moving,” she explained.

Her quest came to a halt near 75th and Wornall, leading her to a field behind an alley way where she found the phone in the possession of a homeless man who was living in a makeshift shack.

“He had made a little lean-to back, it seemed like he was kind of camped out,” Abbey described.

She called police, and the man was arrested. Details of his extensive criminal past, which includes sex crimes, burglary and drug possession, have come to light.

So far he’s only facing a city ticket for trespassing on public property, but he’s now being investigating for the burglary, though he hasn't been formally charged yet.

“It`s kind of weird because you don`t ever think that could ever happen to you or your house. You see it on the news and stuff like that but yeah, it was a little weird,” Abbey said.

Abbey says although she feels uneasy after the break-in, she's hesitant to judge the suspect or his past. She works for a non-profit that helps ex-offenders re-enter society, and hopes to one day become a social worker.