California Business Owner Tracks, Catches Thief With Apple AirTags in Stolen Merchandise

California Business Owner Tracks, Catches Thief With Apple AirTags in Stolen Merchandise

This photo shows an Apple AirTag in Washington, DC., on Feb. 13, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li


Updated: 12/6/2023

A Newport Beach, California, nursery owner used Apple AirTags to trace and catch an alleged thief accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his business over multiple weeks.
The suspect was first seen in surveillance footage from Roger’s Garden Oct. 12 filling up a shopping cart with potted plants and loading them into a truck before driving off, according to KABC-TV.
“We have security cameras all over the store including our parking lot,” Michael Sullivan, operations manager for Roger’s Garden, told the news outlet.
Mr. Sullivan told KABC the thief had taken some expensive goods from the property, including a large fountain weighing over 150 pounds and pots worth $300 each.
Since the initial incident, the store was hit two more times, according to media reports.
Then, on Nov. 16, the alleged thief returned to the store and took more items, including a bench, Mr. Sullivan said.
However, unbeknown to the thief, Mr. Sullivan planted Apple Air Tags in a number of items, in preparation for the thief to return.
“I saw one of the AirTags had moved to a location in Irvine, so I had the address at that point. I took a screenshot of it and I sent it to the detectives at 2 in the morning,” he told KABC.
According to the TV station, police reported to the address and found what they called, “a sanctuary of stolen greenery.”
Most of the items stolen from the store were found at the property.
“Every single thing in his front yard was like our pots, our fountain, our plants. The entire front yard. A bench from out front. The entire front yard was—it was basically decorated with our stuff that we were missing,” Mr. Sullivan said.
Authorities retrieved items valued at over $8,000, leading to the arrest of the suspect who now faces four felony grand theft charges, KABC reported.
The business said that they hoped their action would send a message that no such crime should be tolerated, KABC reported.
“There seems to be a kind of apathy with a lot of retailers where they sort of like let it happen or look the other way or that’s a cost of doing business,” Mr. Sullivan said in the KABC interview. “We disagree with that approach. We are going after anyone that takes something from us.”
Sophie Li

Sophie Li


Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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