Apple AirTag Aids Family in Recovering Stolen Suitcase, Catching Thief

What you should know

  • The Gavino family was able to track their stolen luggage using Apple‘s AirTag item tracker and the Find My app on their iPhone.
  • The stolen luggage was tracked to a house in Gastonia, North Carolina, where police recovered it along with another stolen suitcase.
  • While the luggage was recovered, the contents of the suitcase, including clothes bought specifically for the trip, were missing and believed to be sold.
  • A suspect was arrested in connection with the theft and charged with multiple theft crimes and a drug charge.

Full Story

AirTag, Apple’s item tracker, has once again proven its worth. According to The Queen City News, the Gavino family, visiting the North Carolina mountains from Miami, Florida, found themselves in a predicament. They had a dream of celebrating Christmas in the Carolinas. However, upon landing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, they found that one of their bags was missing.

The silver lining? Catherine Gavino, a member of the family, had recently purchased AirTag item trackers. Influenced by online influencers, she had tossed an AirTag into each suitcase. She never thought she’d actually need to track a missing bag. “It was to help find luggage if it was lost, but I never thought it’d get stolen,” she admitted.

After noticing one bag’s absence, Catherine launched the Find My app on her iPhone. The missing luggage was on the move, traveling on Interstate 85, heading west toward Gastonia. The family rented a car and started following the AirTag. However, the search was halted when the AirTag stopped transmitting data.

The missing luggage contained clothing specially bought by Catherine’s parents for the trip. With the bag’s location unknown, they had to repurchase the items. On Christmas Day, the Gavino family decided to try one last time to retrieve the suitcase. After dropping off two family members at the airport, Catherine tracked the AirTag to a house on McGuire Street in Gastonia.

“I told my dad who was with me, ‘Look it’s only 20 minutes, let’s swing by,'” she said. After driving by the house, they called the police. The police recovered not only the Gavino family’s luggage but also a suitcase belonging to another victim of airport theft. Catherine revealed, “someone else called with the same issue. And they had an AirTag.” The police had visited the area earlier that day to recover the other bag, which was pinging at the wrong house.

The Gavino family’s stolen suitcase was recovered, but the contents were missing. The police suspect the clothes were sold. “Police believe they may have sold the clothes for money, who knows,” Catherine said. “These are my parents, coming to the mountains for a North Carolina view, so for this to happen made me sad, which was all the more reason to go after them…I wouldn’t have found them without this AirTag.”

A suspect was arrested and charged with multiple theft crimes and a drug charge. He is being held on $10,000 bail. Catherine Gavino explained her determination to recover the suitcase. “I wanted justice,” she declared.

Apple sells individual AirTag trackers for $29, and a set of four can be purchased for $99, a savings of $17 or 15% if you buy the package. The online Apple Store also offers several key rings and other accessories for your Apple AirTag. Plus, you can get your AirTag engraved for free when you purchase it from the online Apple Store.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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