Carjacker Gets Tracked Down In 7 Minutes Thanks To Droid App

Droid does…justice? A guy who got carjacked was able to track the thief and send cops to surround him in seven minutes, thanks to the Lookout app installed on his Droid left in the car.

The New Jersey father had stepped out to go buy groceries for his family when he found a .380 automatic pointed at him. “Is that a real gun?” he asked. “You wanna see?” the attacker reportedly replied and then pointed the gun at his face. The citizen put up his hands and backed off and the carjacker jumped in the car and sped away.

Thinking quickly, he remembered that he left his Droid in the car, and that it had the Lookout app installed on it. Among its other features, the app lets you go online and see your phone’s location in Google Maps. On the phone with the cops, the victim was able to relay his assailant’s location with turn-by-turn instructions.

There are other apps like this for different kinds of mobile phones, installing one could come in handy in situations like this. What’s your favorite GPS locator app for your mobile device? Sound off in the comments.

New Jersey police make arrest thanks to GPS [ABC7 via Droid-Life]


Edit Your Comment

  1. midwestkel says:

    That’s awesome. Don’t criminals watch the movies that show they always toss the phone out the car?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      What movies does this actually happen? None, that’s what movies.

  2. RanChan03 says:


  3. SG-Cleve says:

    In the story above the app is called “Lookout” in one place and “Locator” in another place.

    For those who want to install the app, it is called “Lookout”.

    The app is free and can be used to locate your phone on a map, or set off an alarm if you think the phone is nearby. A premium (paid) version of the app will allow you to remotely lock your phone or wipe all data.

  4. Yankees368 says:

    Droid Incredible ftw!

  5. SpamDel says:

    It’s an Android app, not exclusive to Morotola’s Droid line of phones. Just saying so potential smartphone buyers know they can get any GPS-enabled Android phone and Lookout should work.

    Just make sure you get the phone with the biggest gee bees and the why-fyes. (I kid)

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      That’s what irritates me most… I wish they had never called that phone “Droid” because now everytime someone sees an Android phone they call it a Droid not knowing there are many. I guess people are just used to the fact that an iPhone is an iPhone no matter who your service provider is. Android has dozens of options in hardware and manufacturers. HTC, Motorola, Samsung, etc.

      • Powerlurker says:

        Branding all of its premium Android phones under the Droid brand is probably one of the smartest things that Verizon has done in a long time.

    • Moosehawk says:


      I hear this all over the place and I dislike it.

  6. Toolhead says:


  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Who names their kid Stalin?

    • DaBull says:

      I used to work with Stalin. I’m glad to see he wasn’t hurt.

      But yes, I wondered the same thing…who names their kid Stalin?

      • echovictorecho says:

        Hardcore socialists/communists. There are many Lenins/Ninels, Stalins, Yosefs and Vladimirs in Latin countries and Cuba especially. The guy looks pretty Cuban, but I am not a profiler.

        • Powerlurker says:

          There are apparently a number of young boys in Sub-Saharan Africa with the first name “Kalashnikov”.

    • magus_melchior says:

      It means “steel” in Russian, I think.

      I remember one of my friends was named “Steel”. Coolest name in the class.

  8. red3001 says:

    The app in the video for anyone looking is Lookout Mobile Security by Lookout, Inc.

  9. KillerBee says:

    That’s pretty cool… except he probably shouldn’t have left his phone in the car to begin with. Dude got very lucky.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      He had a gun in his face. I don’t think he thought to say, “hey, would you let me get back in my car for just a second to fetch my phone?”

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      From the sound of it, the phone was already in his car and he was just leaving his house. I would say he was lucky the phone was still in his car and the battery wasn’t dead or something.

    • runswithscissors says:

      You… you don’t understand what getting carjacked is, do you?

      • mythago says:

        Come now. You don’t think “but somebody stuck a gun in his face” is going to dissuade an experienced, die-hard Consumerist commenter from OP blaming?

    • Extractor says:

      From the sounds of it, you should leave your phone when going in for such a short time period. Wonder if an older GPS enabled phone would work for GPS as well as 911 even if deactivated. Goodbye Lojack!

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      I’m guessing “au contraire!” Besides, if you’re staring at the business end of a gun in your face, you’re probably not considering the material possessions you may have left in your car when you’re ordered to get out or get killed.

  10. humphrmi says:

    Surprised that the cops paid any attention to him. And in New Jersey, yet.

  11. cjnewbs says:

    If you have an iPhone you can sign up for a mobile me account for free. The free account gives you access to the find my iPhone web application that allows you to track you phones location, also allows you to display a message on the screen and make the speaker beep (even in silent mode), and preform a remote wipe.

    iPod Touches and iPads can also be added to your account but functionality will be model/configuration dependant.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Huh, I didn’t know it would make the speaker beep in silent mode. Thanks for that tip! Now if I forget where I sat my phone down at home I’ll try that out to find it.

  12. LD says:

    Lookout is a great app and comes in a variety of flavors for different phones (Android, Blackberry, etc.). The paid app is definitely worth it. Its not tied to your phone, its tied to your account, so if you sign up for a year and replace your phone before the year is up, your new phone will be covered under the same account. And you can have two phones covered per account. Oh, and they have some of the best customer support I’ve ever experienced.

  13. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Flippin’ SWEET. Just downloaded it for my blackberry! Thanks, Consumerist!

  14. Me - now with more humidity says:

    This is the droid you’re looking for…

  15. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Isn’t it nice of Dear Leader to include “Find my i(whatever)” with the last iOS (4.2.1) update? Guess people with said devices (that is those with A4 processors, like the 4th gen iPhone or iPod touch) should do so. Hey, you never know if this could happen to you,.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Damn no edit button, replace “do so” with “enable it.”

    • nucwin83 says:

      I never leave my phone in the car though. Meh.

    • th3v6cann3val0s3 says:

      Are you trying to comment on the fact that Apple releases progressively new hardware every year to keep up with other phones?

      If so, I thought you should probably know find my iPhone works on the 3G and 3GS as they also have A-GPS chipsets. So it’s not only those with the A4 processor.

  16. xboxcrazy33 says:

    It also backs up your contacts and pictures at regular interval if you want it to. It’s a great free app.

  17. laughingisfree says:

    Forget the Droid App, where was the victim’s gun that would have ended the carjacker on the spot?

    • JennQPublic says:

      Have you considered how inconvenient it would be to keep a gun on you, accesible at all times, 24/7/365? Where would I keep one, my purse? It would take me five minutes to find it! I think I’ll have better luck with my phone.

      • laughingisfree says:

        A gun holster will do the job. It’s not an inconvenience to carry a pistol all the time, it becomes a part of you. Just make sure you don’t leave your phone in your purse, or else you wont find it when someone is pointing a gun at you.

        • human_shield says:

          I’m always fascinated by what people plan to do with their gun when someone has a gun pointed at them. Guns are useless unless you draw first. I guess you could try the old “look out behind you!” trick. Or shoot them while they are driving away, but I’m pretty sure that would be considered murder.

          • Southern says:

            Depends on the state. In Texas you could do it, but our “Castle Doctrine” is pretty broad.

          • shuffle69 says:

            In Florida it would NOT be considered murder. It would be understood that you were attempting to stop a felony in action, you would be “shooting to stop”, and as a victim of unwarranted threat it would be acceptable for you to shoot at the car/thief in an attempt to stop the thief from harming you or others.

            • Dre' says:

              Florida resident here, parent poster is correct since the car-jacker would have been on the victim’s property initially. However, once the guy actually drives away in said car, you aren’t allowed to just start shooting wildly at them.

        • johnyg30518 says:

          New Jersey is a “May issue” state for concealed guns. But apparently it is nearly impossible to get a permit to have one. 8 million residents, just 1,000 permits.

    • Gulliver says:

      Of course, because Rambo thinks a guy who comes behind you in a sneaky fashion and is holding a gun on you can be overcome with the speed it takes you to grab you won gun and try to shoot him. I am sure if the victim had a gun, the victim would be dead and without his car.
      I think this story proves you do not need a gun to outsmart the criminals. He has his car, and his phone and the criminal is arrested.

  18. alisha.hime says:

    Installed. Woot.

  19. dg says:

    Guns are highly restricted in NJ – to the point where someone who was transporting a gun legally from one home to another (both his – he was moving from one to the other), got arrested, charged and thrown in jail for 7 years (he’s appealing).

    So tell me, why praytell do all the criminals have guns but the honest law-abiding people don’t? Oh yeah, asinine laws… Kudos to the droid, but I’d still rather have a 9mm. Then when that asshole pulled his gun, and said you want to see it, I could say sure – wanna see mine? And maybe some other people in the area – concealed or open carry owners – could say “Yeah, and how about ours jerkwad?” Then this whole thing wouldn’t have happened, and we wouldn’t need to install privacy-invading tracking programs on our phones that open us up to even more risks.

    “The 2nd Amendment…. America’s Original and Best Homeland Security”

    • Gulliver says:

      Of course, because Rambo thinks a guy who comes behind you in a sneaky fashion and is holding a gun on you can be overcome with the speed it takes you to grab you won gun and try to shoot him. I am sure if the victim had a gun, the victim would be dead and without his car.
      I think this story proves you do not need a gun to outsmart the criminals. He has his car, and his phone and the criminal is arrested.

    • Trick says:

      The person arrested in New Jersey had ammunition and large clips that are illegal in NJ. Period. Yes he bought the stuff legally in Colorado but that didn’t change the fact that it is illegal in NJ. Now I don’t agree with what happened to this guy, 7 years is pure BS but if you are going to own a firearm, you better know the laws of the state you live in.

      As for your Quick Draw Mcgraw theory, how fast can you pull your concealed 9mm out of its holster and shot the punk who has a gun pointed at your face? Is it really loaded? Are you really going to find out by trying to pull your gun while one is pointed point blank at your face?

      The 2nd amendment doesn’t protect the stupid. Yes your right to carry a firearm is present and if the only solution you can think of is pulling your concealed weapon while having one pointed at you, perhaps you are better off not owning a gun.

      How do you know the victim didn’t have his own conceal gun? Because the article didn’t say so? The victim did the right thing. Gave up something that can be replaced by insurance or get shot in the face trying to Dirty Harry the punk pointing a gun at his face?

      • dg says:

        How about saying “Sure – go ahead – take the car” – then when he turns his back, pull the gun out and then shoot the car jacker? In some State – it’s legal to defend your property, but in a screwed up State like NJ, it’s probably not.

        As for the “ammo” and “large clips” – that’s all BS – the guy never should have gotten any time for that.

  20. VonAether says:


    Installs silently on your Android, and on PCs (Mac, Windows, Linux/Ubuntu). Free, open-source.

    With PCs, you can report it stolen via the Prey website. With phones, you send it a text message which you can pre-define.

    You can track a phone via GPS or network, lock it, display messages, change wallpaper, and emit a loud noise when you think you’re getting close.

    With PCs, you can do all the above, and can also get reports of any files changed or programs accessed, get screenshots of your desktop, and can take snapshots from any attached webcam so you can get a picture of the thief.

    Highly recommended.

    • VonAether says:

      Oh, and if someone replaces your SIM card, your phone will text a number you can define with the SIM’s new number.

  21. evilpete says:

    Heh, he’s lucky cause in 8 minutes the battery would have been drained.

  22. StevePierce says:

    Thankfully this wasn’t a Palm Pre on Verizon. VZW has neutered the GPS for all 3rd party apps.

  23. Jeff-er-ee says:

    Been using Lookout for close to a year now on my MyTouch. Great app. Does remote location as well as data backup and anti-virus. Paid version lets you remote wipe and lock (as I think someone else pointed out).

  24. SassySoy says:

    I really want to hear conversation between 911 and him. Must have sounded interesting. :D

  25. Patriot says:

    Shouldn’t the real story be that somebody named their kid after one of the worst mass murderers in human history? Somebody named their kid after Adolph Hitler and CPS tried to take him away from their parents. Hitler could only have dreamed of slaughtering as many people as Stalin.

  26. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    My Nokia smartphone has a GPS transponder in it which is (usually) pretty good. I already use it for its map features, but after seeing something like this, it’d be nice to have a Lookout-like app on it as well. Guess I should start e-shopping around.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Nevermind I just saw the link VonAether posted, re: The Prey Project. Sounds just about perfect. Unfortunately, they haven’t released a Nokia platform yet, much to my disappointment. Oh well, fingers crossed and all that.

  27. sp00nix says:

    Does with work with all Android phones or just the Droid series?

  28. ldavis480 says:

    I admit to being somewhat confused. He left his Droid in his car and yet he was able to use GPS to relate to the police where the Droid was. Did he have another cellphone that was tracking the first one? I assume it doesn’t involve any Jedi mind tricks. Sorry, I have no idea how the app works.

    • VonAether says:

      At least with Prey (, once activated, the app relates all relevant information to their website. So you just log in to the Prey site and can access all your phone’s details. I imagine Lookout functions in a similar manner.

  29. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Ha ha! Foiled by R2-D2. How embarrassing for you.

  30. peebozi says:

    mobiledefense for my droid…it seems to work and will always be free (because i signed up a year ago, i guess)

  31. dush says:

    Lean forward, put your forehead on the end of the barrel and say, “are you ready to be a murderer?”