Apple AirTag Leads to Grand Theft Charge

August 18, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Theft/Property Crimes

One of Apple’s newest accessories has helped police find the person responsible for stealing over $16,000 worth of luggage. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has released a statement regarding the arrest, and how they worked together with the airport to cross-reference employees who lived in the area where the victim’s Apple AirTag was last marked on a GPS tracker.

We will cover the details of the case, explain how Apple AirTag works, and cover the different charges for grand theft in Florida.

What was the Incident?

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrested Giovanni De Luca, 19, with two counts of grand theft. De Luca was working at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport as an airline subcontractor. A woman reported her luggage missing back in July, claiming that there was over $1600 worth of belongings inside. Her bags were reported lost/stolen.

The woman left an Apple AirTag inside of her suitcase—a tracking device that connects to other Apple products with a GPS tracker. She noticed that her Apple AirTag from the luggage was last active in the Kathy Court Area in Mary Esther.

There was another airline passenger who reported over $15,000 worth of jewelry and other items from his luggage that was reported lost on August 9th. The Okaloosa Sheriff’s Office Airport Security Unit became suspicious of the two incidents and began investigating with the help of the OCSO.

The deputies cross-referenced any employees from the airport who lived in the area of Kathy Court. This led them to De Luca, where they searched his home in Kathy Court. After searching his home, the police were able to uncover the missing items from the luggage that was reported missing on August 9th.

De Luca did admit to the police that he had gone through the first victim’s bag and took out her AirTag, however none of her belongings were recovered. Sheriff Eric Aden from the OCSO said that the arrest, “is an example of excellent teamwork by our Airport Security Unit, our investigators, and the Airport to find the person responsible for these thefts and make sure he is held responsible.”

How Does an AirTag Work?

Apple released a new tracking accessory in April 2021 called the AirTag. The device belongs to the Find My service that all iPhones have within its technology. An AirTag is a device that allows a secure and private way to locate a person’s belongings.

According to Apple’s website, when you attach an AirTag to one of your personal belongings, it sends out a secured Bluetooth signal that can be detected by any nearby device from the Find My network. You then receive the location of the AirTag in your iCloud, which will appear on a map.

If someone reports one of their items missing, the AirTag can be placed in “lost mode.” Once the item or device is detected by one of the devices in the network, you receive a notification. There’s also the possibility of allowing another person with an NFC-capable smartphone to have your information as well. The purpose of AirTag is to keep track of your belongings while also discouraging unwanted tracking.

Charges for Grand Theft

Grand theft is defined under Florida Statute section 812.014(1) as when an individual knowingly takes or uses, or attempts to obtain or use someone else’s property, or deprives the owner of their property permanently or temporarily, for their use or by letting someone else use their belongings without permission.

The value of the item or property is what determines whether a theft charge is petit theft or grand theft. If the item or property that was stolen is valued higher than $750, it can be considered grand theft. Depending on the item stolen, the State may charge you with Grand Theft even if it’s value is less than $750. This items include:

  • A firearm,
  • Any Motor Vehicle,
  • A Stop Sign, or a Sign from a Construction Site, or
  • Any amount of any Controlled Substance.

Grand theft has charges that range from grand theft in the third-degree up to the first-degree. You can find the characteristics of each grand theft charge on our informative page here. All three types of grand theft charges carry extreme punishments if convicted. For a grand theft charge in the third-degree, you could face up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. For a grand theft charge in the second-degree, you could face up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. For a grand theft charge in the first-degree, you could face up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

The best way to protect yourself and your future from a grand theft conviction is to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney in your area.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, it is in your best interest to seek out the legal advice of an experienced defense attorney. Grand theft charges carry a heavy weight in Florida. A conviction of a grand theft charge can result in expensive fines, imprisonment, and a lasting criminal record. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients across the state of Florida for various charges. We vow to stand by your side throughout the entire process and fight for your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

 Written by Karissa Key

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