The iPhone in 2010 wasn't just topping headlines for color defects and faulty phone connections. Apple's smartphone also had a seedy underbelly over the past 12 months filled with robberies, muggings, murder and assault. Numerous criminals tried to get away with iPhone-related schemes this year, but were often foiled thanks to the handset's numerous capabilities such as GPS, Wi-Fi and video capture.
A run-in with the iPhone may also have led one man to violence, and almost put a news editor in jail. Police busted up an organized crime ring in 2010 that had a certain fondness for Apple's iDevice, and two people were identified as criminals through their iPhone.
Here's a look at the 10 strangest iPhone-related crimes from 2010.
A senior citizen allegedly punched a teenager in the arm during a Southwest Airlines flight headed for Las Vegas on Tuesday. Russell Miller, a 68-year-old resident of Boise, Idaho apparently became enraged that his 15 year-old seat companion refused to shut off his iPhone in preparation for the plane's landing, according to KBOI2 News. Miller has been charged with misdemeanor battery.
The cops in Australia won't hesitate to bring in the big guns to take down smartphone felons who run off with someone's iPhone. In mid-December, a 16-year-old thief stole a woman's iPhone from a Melbourne area hospital and fled the scene on a bicycle, according to the Australian daily The Age . Unfortunately for the young iPhone nabber, the police had a helicopter nearby. The cops used the iPhone's GPS coordinates to follow the thief as he made his getaway. Police on the ground arrested the young iBandit shortly thereafter.
Caught on Webcam
A Denver resident spotted a thief ransacking her apartment on Tuesday while remotely viewing a Webcam video feed through her iPhone, according to 9News. Claire, whose last name has not been released, had intended to check in on her dog using an app called iCam that lets you remotely access Webcams in your home. Imagine Claire's surprise when, instead of seeing her faithful companion, she saw a man going through her stuff. The thief escaped with several hundred dollars worth of electronics, but the burglar was arrested on Wednesday after his face appeared on 9News' evening newscast.
iPhone Knife Fight
Jerome Taylor, 20, tried to rob a New London, Connecticut restaurant with an iPhone last Thursday. The cooks at the restaurant sprung into action grabbing their kitchen knives to confront the would-be robber mistaking the iPhone for a gun, according to MSNBC. Taylor soon backed off and left the scene before the police arrived. He was later arrested.
Foiled By Military Grade GPS
A thief in San Francisco stole an iPhone in July by snatching it out of a woman's hands while riding by on a bicycle, according to ABC News. Unfortunately for the would-be thief, the woman was using the phone to demonstrate a GPS application created by Covia Labs--a software company specializing in solutions for police, emergency responders and the military. The company was able to guide the police to the thief's location in real-time in under 9 minutes. Horatio Toure, the alleged thief, was later charged with theft and possession of stolen property, according to the Telegraph.
If you're going to rob a house, it's typically a bad idea to leave your phone behind at the scene of the crime. That's what Tyler Blake Garrison allegedly did during a home invasion in Russellville, Alabama in September, according to Franklin County newspaper TimesDaily. Police were able to trace the forgotten phone back to Garrison. "It always helps when you've got stupid criminals; it makes it a lot easier to solve the case," Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing told TimesDaily.
Tommy Reed in April allegedly murdered 54-year-old Phoenix resident Mark G. Woodland in the victim's home after arranging a date via an iPhone app. The pair used a social networking application that lets you see people near you interested in a late night tryst. Police were able to find Reed by identifying his iPhone. The assailant is now facing murder charges.
iPhone Knock Out
Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September was arrested after allegedly beating his ex-girlfriend in front of their three children and stealing her iPhone, according to ESPN. The boxer's lawyer said in September that Mayweather didn't steal the phone, and that his ex, Josie Harris, simply lost her iPhone. Mayweather is due in court January 24 for a preliminary hearing into the case, according to the Clark County Court calendar.
Police in the U.K. busted up an organized crime ring in August that was using iPhones SIM cards to rack up enormous charges in calls to premium phone lines. The criminals owned the premium phone lines, which charged as much as $15 per minute, according to The Telegraph . Premium phone lines are often used to sell services such as dating, party chat lines, phone sex and gambling tips. The cost of the service is then added to a user's phone bill.
To make the pricey phone calls, thieves would send the SIMs overseas where they would be plugged into devices that would dial the premium numbers around the clock. The ring stole about 1,000 iPhones to carry out their scheme.
This wasn't exactly a crime, but you can't talk about the iPhone and the law in 2010 without mentioning the lost iPhone caper. In April, police raided Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home in search of evidence on how the gadget blog obtained an unreleased iPhone that had been lost in a Redwood City bar. The materials seized were later returned to Chen and no charges were laid against Gizmodo or Chen. It was later revealed that Brian Hogan was the man who allegedly sold the iPhone 4 to the gadget blog for $5000.