By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

Buckhead resident Jayne Milling was pumping gas into her car at the BP station at Pharr and Piedmont roads at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 25 when a male snatched her purse off the seat of her car, jumped into a Chrysler Concord and sped away.

In Milling’s purse—along with $205 in cash and a number of credit cards — was her Apple iPhone, which led police a short time later to the thief at a QT service station on Satellite Boulevard in Gwinnett County.

Here’s how the whole episode unfolded, according to the report by Atlanta Police Zone 2 officers and a first-person account from Milling: “I never even saw the robber, but saw him peel away onto Piedmont. I did scream to draw attention, and that caused several men to take notice of the car peeling away to get a good description. I thought my purse was gone.”

But, thanks to the iPhone in the purse, Milling got everything back except for an American Express credit card.

Another customer at the BP station let Milling use his phone to call the police. She said the police arrived within two minutes and they tried to chase after the suspect. “While they were gone for about 10 minutes, I used the gas station’s phone to call a friend,” Milling recounted. “I explained that I thought my iPhone had a tracking system on it and hopefully she could help.  I gave her the website and my pass codes and then had to hang up.  She and her husband used my info and tracked my phone,” she added.

Zone 2 police officer J. Edwards, who responded to the BP station, also tried to access Milling’s phone tracking through his iPhone.

Tracking Milling’s phone, officer Edwards provided the Georgia State Patrol and Gwinnett police with a full description of the suspect and the car he was driving. The thief was tracked to the QT station off I-85 at 3844 Satellite Boulevard.

A Georgia State Patrol officer was nearby, located the vehicle and took the suspect, Freddrick Glover, into custody as he sat in the car going through the contents of Milling’s purse.

At the time of his arrest, Glover was on probation on charges of entering an auto and stealing. He was transported to the Fulton County Jail.

Milling got her purse back, and all of her belongings, except for the American Express credit card.

Her advice to others: “Call your cell phone manufacturer, and ask if there is a tracking device or GPS system that can locate your phone when lost or stolen. I think more phones than iPhones have it,” she said. “It was the service MobileMe that saved the day.”

John Schaffner

John Schaffner was founding editor of Reporter Newspapers.