Episode 52: Man Uses Apple AirTag To Track Down And Kill Person Who Stole His Vehicle (2023)
11:27AM Jun 2, 2023
Whoa, just curious. Welcome to Just curious media. This is that's a crime. I'm Jason Connell.
And I'm Sal Rodriguez.
All right, Sal, we are back with another crime.
Yeah, I'm ready to go.
Oh, come ready to talk. Oh, that's good to know. Yeah, this crime is very recent, as we've covered some very recent crimes, but just happened last week. And it also deals with some technology, which we're gonna get into. It's a discussion, it's a lot of things. But today, we are breaking down the true crime story of the man uses Apple air tag to track down and kill person who stole his vehicle. And 2023. Who a lot to unpack there. So
yeah, a lot of things happening.
A lot of things, but I think we should start with Apple air tech, before we get into the crime, and there's obviously a killing. Let's get into Apple air tag. Because if you know, you know, but if you don't know what that is, we'll just talk about it. Are you familiar before I dive into some of the explanations?
Well, Jason, as you know, I was an Apple iPhone user for about 10 years, I went, I think I had Apple, iPhone three than I had five. And then that's when I went Samsung. So I've had Samsung now about the last five years, and as you know, on the fence about going back to Apple, so no, I don't have any experience with Apple Airtec.
Okay, what you should come back to Apple, but that's the whole thing. So it's Apple's coin size, very small, Bluetooth tracking device for keys, suitcases, pets, etc. And it costs about $29. So very inexpensive way to track fact, I saw that if you bought for it's $100. So you can remember, no, no membership, just you own it, you can track that device. There's other companies on the market. But this is really about Apple Airtec. And it doesn't need to be charged. It has a real battery that should be replaced about every year. Okay, so there is that? What is Apple air tags range, you just might ask me and I will I kind of felt that you may hit me with that one. So air tags need to be within 33 feet of an iPhone or other device in the Find my network for its Bluetooth signal to register. Okay, this means as long as an air tag is within Bluetooth range of anybody's iPhone, make a note of that, or other Apple device, it can passively transmit the location to Apple, and then to the customers, thus helping them locate it. So there was a lot in that right there. But let me continue. For example, you can locate an air tag that's hundreds of miles away, so long as somebody with an Apple device walks near it. Now I knew what it was. I was not even aware of some of this
JSON that seems a little invasive that you're walking around with your iPhone, and I Apple is using you to bounce signals off of somebody else's air tag.
Yes, it does. And it also feels like you could use it for sinister reasons. So not that that's what this crime is. I'm just giving backstory on its capabilities, where it came from, I'm sure it's evolved or devolved from what it could do as as it's been out on the market. And people find things they can use it for. So let's delve in to this crime. And we're going to be coming back to the Airtex because we can spend a lot of time dissecting it so we know that it was used in this crime, not tracking a person per se, but it's a property of vehicle, which is totally legal. Right, you're using it we could track anything we wanted to. So on March 29 2023 44 year old Andrew John Herrera was involved in a deadly shootout in a shopping centers parking lot in San Antonio, Texas. During the exchange, Herrera was shot and killed by who appears to be the owner of the truck that Herrera was driving. Allegedly, Herrera had stolen the truck and was unaware that the odd named owner had tracked its location using an Apple air tech. So so I'm assuming the owner was using the air tag as I just talked about as a theft device in his vehicle and mostly likely had it hidden in the truck someplace. I mean, that would make sense.
Yeah. And it's not as simple as you use the air tag to track your vehicle. And then you contact the authorities and let them know where the vehicle is. In this instance, you use the air tag to track your vehicle and go wild wild west on a mofo.
There is that yeah, I mean, I even thought it's not too far fetched, but probably is that Herrera stole the vehicle, and the keys were in it. And the key could have the air tag on there, you know, because it has little holder for like a keychain. But that's probably not the case. Because if you saw that you probably wouldn't want you'd probably discard that. But it was probably hidden in there for this very reason. If my truck ever gets stolen, I'm going to track it down. And you're absolutely right. This is Texas. I grew up in Oklahoma, it's very similar. A lot of gun Florida, or Florida. Well, officials from the San Antonio Police Department said they received a stolen vehicle report around 1pm out of a home in North San Antonio. So this was called in to the police stolen vehicle. Then the truck owner use the apple air tag to track the vehicle nearly 20 miles from where it was stolen. So was it like I'm going to call that in? Oh, heck, I'm going to track it myself. It's right here. And then, like you said, headed over there to see what was what now what we don't know, is what led to this deadly exchange. Did the owner of the truck show up and confront Herrera and Well, we're about to get into that. But any thoughts you might have before I continue?
Well, I'm just reminded of the time I was involved in a hit and run somebody Hello, hit the back of my car. Yeah, I was at a stoplight. Somebody hit the back of the air tagged you. They did I got out of the car. And the guy like waved me he's like, gave me the like pull over sign. And I was like, okay, but at the last second I thought I took out my phone. I took a picture of his license plate, got in the car. That guy like a bat out of hell went around me and I started chasing the guy through Studio City off of Ventura Boulevard near Vineland and I'm chasing this guy. I get on the phone with 911 I'm in hot houses of a guy who who hit me. This guy even went on the opposite side of the road down violin, you know where the Beverly garland is on vinyl, North Hollywood studio city. That guy went on the other side of violent drove the opposite side. Very dangerous. He then made a left on I think Aqua Vista, one of the streets there Beverly garland. And then I the operator said Stop chasing him. And I was obedient. I said fine. I stopped chasing the guy waited for the police to come. They never showed up. So I just left fill out a report. As it turns out, the guy who hit me did have a warrant out for his arrest for assault. So he was a dangerous guy. Wow. Maybe it was lucky. We didn't have any sort of incident. Who knows how it could have gone down? Maybe not in my favour, you know? So yeah, the guy got away but was charged my insurance took care of it. It was all fine in the end. Wow. But yeah, be careful going rogue Be careful taking matters into your own hands. The law doesn't want you doing Yeah, I didn't have a gun. Did he have a gun? Who knows? Anyway, I'm glad it all turned out as it did.
That's incredible. So and that is very fitting on. That's a crime. This episode that's a crime has hijacked by another episode of that's a crime. So I like I've actually think you've heard that story before. But it's amazing. And I'm so happy that you guys didn't have that confrontation. I mean, he wasn't even go through the whole insurance thing he was looking to get out of that. You probably were okay. He's more of a FLIR but still very scary, man. I can't believe he chased him. But at the same time, you know, Hey, you gotta least see what what were you going to do? Had you caught up with him? That's where it kind of got
when it's like, it's a good question. I don't know what I would have done and next time I run into me, grab him by the collar, you asshole. I don't know. I don't know what I would have said
best thing you did was you got his tag. So that's when you probably should have slowed down. You got him. But yeah, so here's what happened in this crime which they weren't so fortunate. So the location of the vehicle did indeed become the deadly crime scene as authorities found several bullet casings and two cars with their windows shot out. So it's unclear and unreported if Herrera also had a gun, which could have escalated the confrontation. As of now, because this is very recent, like I said, obviously, according to the date, officials are determining if the suspect will be charged in the fatal shooting. Because, well, this could have been self defense. We don't know anything beyond what I shared until more details are released. This is an active scene active case. I mean, the owner could have showed up and said, That's my car. And the guy panics and pulls a gun on him. I mean, this is Texas if they have the right to carry arms. So he pulls a gun on him, and he pulls out a gun and start shooting. I don't know, I want to keep up with this case. as it unfolds.
Yeah, we're gonna be getting more information about this and mark my words, I bet we're gonna find out the deceased. While he may have been a thief, probably did not have a gun and was probably just killed in cold blood.
Well, then I'm kind of shocked that he reported it stolen, if he was gonna go off and be a vigilante and just take it back. It's like, why would you even bring the police into play? You know, it
helps this case, right? I went to go chase after my stolen truck. That sounds better than I just went to go chase, the guy who stole my truck, and there's a kind of legitimizes him chasing the guy by filing a report first,
if you're gonna do that your plan is to kill your plans to go get your truck back and maybe threatened and threatened concerned very dark very quickly if someone else has a gun. That's my thinking. I don't know. And I mean, obviously, there was a death and allegedly a stolen vehicle. Not good. Did he deserve to die just for that? No. So there's more to tell here.
Well, Jason, I agree with you on that. And I don't think somebody deserves to die just because they stole property. I don't think you deserve that. But, but guess what himself will do? Yeah. No, no, a lot of people do. I read a lot of you know, you read the comments. Don't read the comments, people. But you read the comments. And I think of an article. A lot of people are completely in favor of using deadly force on somebody that's stealing your catalytic converter. Somebody's stealing your catalytic converter, you have a right to kill them. I don't think so. Where I come from, you deserve a good ass kicking. Sure. But murdered death? No, no.
So I hope to find out more as this case unfold. So this will be one of the updates that will keep an eye on if they ever released this information. I mean, they didn't even have the truck owner's name. So just have Herrera. But officer Nick Solas said the following sound please go ahead.
If you are to get your vehicle stolen, please do not take matters into your own hands like this. It's never safe. As you can see by this incident.
Yes. Much like we're discussing now. Much like you did, Sal, but you weren't able to catch up with him. Thank goodness, and you're in your crime. But so after calling in the stolen vehicle to the police, it would have made sense to say, hey, here's the tracking information. It's right here. You know, maybe he tipped him off, I don't know, it wouldn't make sense to tip them off and also go there and beat them there with a gun, but rather than going rogue and repossessing your own vehicle. So you know, I don't want to say, Hey, this is where you screwed up, because we don't know what happened in between those two timelines. But still, I just want to let the police handle it. That's just me.
Yeah, I feel like there's a lot left to be desired. As far as the information that we have. I know we're going to be getting the more information at some point. And I absolutely want to revisit this and give our listeners more information and an update as soon as we get it. Yeah.
So now shifting to Apples play in this. A statement was also made by an apple spokesperson.
Air tag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person's property. And we condemn in the strongest possible terms, any malicious use of our products. Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem. And we took this concern seriously in the design of air tag. It's why the Find my network is built with privacy in mind uses end to end encryption, and why we innovated with the first ever proactive system to alert you of unwanted tracking. We hope this starts an industry trend for others to also provide these sorts of proactive warnings in their products.
Okay, very interesting. You know, a lot of things there because when the air tags first came out, I'm assuming they weren't quite as sensitive to this, what people could do, again, not pertinent to this particular crime. Because someone this is their own vehicle that put it in there. They weren't tracking this guy. But it just brings the bigger question into play. Like, wow, these things are that powerful. And obviously it did lead to a shooting so it still is connected. And Apple and this is their defense. Now after a growing number of cases where air tags were misused to track people. Apple announced that it would introduce further security measures to Airtec so there's a lot of this going on, we can probably do a whole set of crimes if people were using Airtex.
So are other tracking, tracking device companies? Yeah, just
the technology. These new security measures include alerting people earlier if an unknown air tag has been following them, and they'll be able to find its exact location. This is where Apple probably is more trusting than another company that's like in this space, like tile. I don't know what they do for security. Apple's real big on security. But that's fascinating to know, sounds like, I'm gonna get an alert like, wait, what I'm being tracked, what's this
word, but hang on. But that's if you have an iPhone, if I'm walking around with a Samsung being tracked with an air tag, I'm not gonna get any,
like, I read that a dormant air tag that's not near its own or for X amount of time will just start beeping. And just like go off, like, yeah, so someone's tracking the air tag and like, hey, Annapolis in his suitcase for so long, but whatever, I just read that, like, that's fascinating. So there's becomes this beacon that people could go say, what is this? You put this here? So very interesting. I'm sure it's gonna continue to change as crooks do things. innovations come into play. And so it's kind of fascinating. And then I started thinking like, Well, wait a second, can I view an error tags, location history? Or the answer cell is no. The Find my app will allow you to see the current location of a given air tag of any given air tag that is connected to your account, but you cannot view the path of an air tag over time. Nor is the location history of an air tag contained within the tag itself. So this is another deterrent from using an air tag to track someone. But again, in regards to this unfortunate crime, the shooter was simply using it to track his vehicle, as I've pointed out, and as Officer Solas said, the shooter took matters into his own hands. But in regards to Apple in the air tag, it is fascinating. I had no idea this was going on beneath the surface. Well, I just thought, hey, I'll get one of these for you know, Sofia's keys, but you know, you really could take it further. Remember back in the day, it's like, oh, yeah, you gotta you gotta hide that beacon or that tracker on that car. Well, now that tracker is just a toy $9 instrument that is so little coin size. You can add it anywhere in a car, in a vehicle and anything.
Well, you know, Jason, when it comes to tracking, and I say this as a Samsung user, which is affiliated with Google. Okay, so it was a surprise to me one day, when a couple years this was a couple years ago, I got an email from Google, you've been tracking Google Maps, specifically saying, Hey, here's where you been the last couple of months. And it showed me where I never asked it to do this. And yet it did. And I happen to be on a major road trip through across multiple states. So it's kind of fun and neat to see. But at the same time, kind of creepy. We're being tracked. I never asked for this. And meanwhile, what if someone were able to hack into my Google account and hack into my phone somehow? There I go all over the USA sounds
not home. I'm gonna go visit his place. Yeah,
I just got some action figures. Now.
I heard I cannot confirm with it. Yeah, he does. A couple. Yeah, there's that there's the dark side. And you can turn that stuff off. I believe. I know, with Apple. I mean, they've really changed a lot of things like anytime you download an app now it's like allow tracking or not. So why even allow it unless you really need it. So this though, this tool, this air tag is meant to do just that. And actually, I think it's a good resource. So yes, it led to someone dying here. And there's that unfortunate Ignis had he not had an air tag he can't find the guy hopefully the cops find the car or it's abandoned or not. Yes, the likelihood of Herrera dying are minuscule it's not going to happen he's not going to find him most likely. So that's not really what Apple's defending against right? Because this guy was using it as he should be using it but took it too far. But it this was a bigger talking point for me. I thought wow, I really want to see what other unfortunately crimes pop up with this device. And some were funny, I saw that what some weren't crimes, but it's like one guy went to go find his suitcase because he had the device in a suitcase. His luggage was lost. He goes to the guy's house that has it and he knocks on the door and he's wearing his clothes. So there's like the the innocent Sure, I don't think that led to a crime. I don't think they went fisticuffs. I think it was like an embarrassing moment. But I was like, Okay, I'm gonna come back to this This is probably something to delve into. And we've also covered an Apple Watch, which I'm wearing now it came up in a crime because it called 911. So technology can also really be your friend, in a lot of ways. It's just how you take it, you know, and actually, I did a crime recently on an Apple Store getting robbed. So we're not just sponsored by Apple. So I wasn't, I wasn't gonna tell you this. But yes, we're not but fascinating crimes nonetheless. But please go ahead.
I was just gonna say, Jason, I really would like to let you know, I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. Like, for example, people want to like sue the gun companies, you know, like, mass shootings, like they, I think, literally creating class action lawsuits against gun companies. Like, is it Apple's fault, that this happens that somebody misuses something of theirs to do something malicious and malevolent? Is it Apple's fault? I would say no, it's not their fault. And they obviously seem to be trying to take measures to prevent things like this from happening. So obviously, Apple doesn't want blood on their hands, you know. So I think in this instance, I'll definitely let apple off the hook. I'll let other tracking companies off the hook. And just, again, point the finger at these people that use tools that should be used for you know, pedestrian mundane things for malicious things. So look out for those types of people.
I completely agree. So I do not blame apple in this instance, people have tools they're gonna have technology, it's what you do with it. And maybe we'll come back on a crime that's more questionable. Like was Apple liable here are another company tile, it comes to mind because I got one of those for Sofia this Christmas. But anyway, yes, absolutely. interesting, fascinating, and unfortunate death to Herrera and hopefully we'll get an update and we could enlighten everyone on the other facts in the case.
Yeah, rest in peace Herrera, you know what, I don't support stealing cars. But I don't think he deserved to die for stealing a car. So rest in peace and you know, hopefully the next life, things will be better for you.
Yeah. And that covers the true crime story of the man uses Apple air tag to track down and kill person who stole his vehicle in 2023. So thank you so much for listening. And please be sure to subscribe to the that's a crime podcast and the that's a crime YouTube Live Channel. You can also really help us by giving the show a five star rating on Apple podcast.
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