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Burnley student tracks stolen phone using GPS
A BURNLEY student used GPS satellite technology to track his stolen iPhone during a city centre chase.
James Bird, 20, ran after a suspected thief when the £500 phone was swiped from a university computer room.
The 20-year-old followed the man onto a bus and blocked his escape, demanding the iPhone 4 back.
James, a second-year student, said he was working on a computer at Manchester University when he noticed his phone had disappeared from his desk.
He used an Apple application called Find My iPhone to track his mobile using the latest GPS (Global Positioning System) technology.
The phone showed it was in Upper Brook Street and moving away from the university, prompting James to give chase with friend Alex Bennett.
James, from Manchester Road, said: “I turned around to talk to the students on the table behind me and when I turned back my phone had gone.
“The tracker is a free application I had set up.
"You log into the account and activate the service, and using the GPS in the phone it tells you where it is.
“One of my mates Nick Crisp watched it on the map on his phone and me and Alex went out to track it down.
“We saw a man ahead and ended up running after him for about half a mile.”
Throughout the chase Nick shouted instructions down the phone to Alex.
James picked up the pace, dashed through a subway and jumped on a departing bus in Grosvenor Street just after the man.
The former Habergham High School pupil said: “I got on the bus after him and said 'you've got my phone, haven't you?'.
"But he said 'no' and showed me two of his pockets again.
“The bus driver said 'we're not going anywhere until you prove you haven't got his phone’.
“I was out of breath because I'd just run all the way up the street, but I blocked the door and the bus driver said he wouldn't move.
“Finally the guy said 'here you go' and gave me it back, but he didn't say sorry or anything like that, he just got off the bus and walked away.”
The bus driver told James the vehicle was covered by CCTV and to ring the police.
However, by coincidence, parked behind the bus was a parked police van.
After James had a quick word with two officers, they followed the man and arrested him just around the corner.
James, who is an aerospace engineering student, said he was just relieved to have his phone back, and grateful the technology had made it possible.
He said: “I doubt many people get their phone back that quickly when it's stolen.
"I would have been pretty lost without my phone.”
A GMP spokesman said a man had been charged in connection with the theft and three other counts of burglary.