WEST JORDAN, Utah » A suspect in an iPad theft used the tablet to take pictures of himself that were automatically uploaded to the owner’s iCloud data storage account, providing detectives with an unusual lead.
The stolen iPad, however, has yet to show up — and police aren’t certain what to make of the images of a man playing to the camera of the stolen device.
"That’s certainly some good information and a fantastic investigative lead," West Jordan police Sgt. Rich Bell told The Associated Press. "It’s proof that he’s certainly involved with the theft, or was in possession of it at some point. Or maybe he’s the suspect."
The man was arrested Saturday on unrelated charges. Bountiful police said he is a 31-year-old parolee who was picked up for traffic violations using a borrowed car — no iPad was recovered. He was listed Tuesday as an inmate at Davis County jail.
Andy Jeon said that shortly after the holiday theft of his wife’s iPad from his vehicle, he noticed pictures of a stranger being uploaded to his iCloud account.
"I was like, ‘What the heck?’" Jeon told the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. "Right after I put those (pictures) on Facebook, a friend of mine who is a cop in North Salt Lake recognized the guy."
West Jordan police said the iCloud lead breaks new ground for a burglary case.
"I have seen a suspect pictured on stolen cameras. It can make good evidence. But this is the first time we’ve seen stuff uploaded on iCloud and the victim was able to look at it," Bell said. "This was a fantastic lead for us, but we can’t immediately file charges. It’s a starting point for the investigation."
Bell said he was moving cautiously before filing charges.
"At this point it’s only a suspect photographed by a stolen iPad," he said. "We’re going to follow up on it. It’s not hard proof. His friends may have stolen the iPad."