Thief caught out by tracking software

North Somerset Courthouse

North Somerset Courthouse - Credit: Archant

A MAN has been fined for taking an 11-year-old’s mobile phone – after he was arrested when tracking software was used to trace it back to his house.

Christopher Crouch, aged 40, of Thirlmere Road in Weston, pleaded guilty to theft at North Somerset Courthouse on Thursday.

Prosecuting, Kevin Blackmore, said: “The victim was in McDonald’s in Winterstoke Road when she realised her daughter’s mobile phone was missing.

“Her daughter, aged 11, had been using the mobile phone.”

Mr Blackmore told the court how CCTV showed Crouch spotting the iPhone 4s, which had been left on a table at the restaurant, before covering it with a napkin and later leaving with the device.

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Mitigating, Kieran Hughes, said: “He looked around and there was just her phone there. That was the point when temptation got the better of him and he took the phone.”

‘Find my iPhone’ software was activated on the device, allowing it to be traced to Crouch’s home.

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The victim’s partner visited the address and confronted him, and he handed over the phone.

Mr Hughes said: “There was a tracking system on the phone around the vicinity of his address.

“He could have lied and said it wasn’t him and told him to try next door, but he handed it over.

“So that should be to his credit.”

Crouch was fined £73 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge as well as £400 costs.

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