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Gillingham architect David Meaney and builder Jarek Luszcz track down iPad stolen from Gravesend building site using Find My iPhone Apple application

By Lizzie Massey

A man whose iPad was snatched tracked down the device and performed a citizen's arrest just 15 minutes later – all thanks to modern technology.

David Meaney, from Gillingham, was working on a construction site when his bag containing drawings, business contacts and iPad were swiped from under his nose.

The architect and civil engineer had put his bag on the ground for two minutes while he and builder Jarek Luszcz climbed up a small bank to survey the building site in Gravesend.

Builder Jarek Luszcz, left, who helped architect David Meaney recover his stolen iPad
Builder Jarek Luszcz, left, who helped architect David Meaney recover his stolen iPad

The 44-year-old, of Longfellow Road, said: "The bag was only about 6ft away, but I noticed a shadow behind us and when I looked down I saw a guy grab it and run.

"Once we got down the slope we had lost sight of him, and I rang the police."

But Mr Luszcz had a plan up his sleeve and told Mr Meaney to use the Apple application Find My iPhone, which pinpoints where every Apple device registered to a person is on a map – provided the device is switched on.

Using this, they were able to locate the iPad in New Road and the chase towards the town centre began.

"We looked around and there was a really shifty-looking guy walking back and forward in front of some shop offering money for people's electronics. He was twitching and shuffling his bag around a lot..." - David Meaney

Mr Meaney said: "Suddenly it showed my iPad was just three metres away. We looked around and there was a really shifty-looking guy walking back and forward in front of some shop offering money for people's electronics.

"He was twitching and shuffling his bag around a lot.

"As he walked, the map showed my iPad moving too, so we followed close behind him and I saw it in his bag. I just said 'excuse me, have you got an iPad in that bag?'

"He just said 'I found it I found it' and tried to run so we pinned him down and performed a citizen's arrest. The police got there about 10 minutes after.

"The police didn't mind that we restrained him, they were just really surprised we found him."

Father-of-three Mr Meaney, whose youngest child was born just six weeks ago, also got his bag back after it was dumped in a bin in the Milton Road Business Centre and found by a woman who contacted him from the business cards inside.

He added: "I assume the guy was just after a quick buck, but it just goes to show all isn't lost if this happens. With technology advancing, it's much harder to get away with it."

A Kent Police spokesman said: "A man was interviewed at the scene and inquiries are ongoing."

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