Man hunts down stolen scooter using Apple AirTags

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Guido shows where he hid an Apple AirTag in the scooter.


@dguido via Twitter

When Dan Guido’s electric scooter was stolen on the night of Aug. 2, he didn’t accept defeat.

The cybersecurity CEO, located in Brooklyn, New York, had hidden two Apple AirTags inside the black scooter, concealed with black duct tape. He set out the next day to locate the vehicle with help from the little Bluetooth trackers. Spoiler alert: He succeeded. 

Guido works at the New York City-based Trail of Bits, a cybersecurity research and consulting firm that serves clients in the defense, tech, finance and blockchain industries. He chronicled his hunt for the scooter in a series of tweets Monday, sharing both the challenges and successes of his wild journey. 

“My scooter was stolen last week,” Guido tweeted. “Unknown to the thief, I hid two Airtags inside it. I was able to use the Apple Find My network and UWB direction finding to recover the scooter today.”

When Guido began his search the next day, he tried to enlist the New York City Police Department, but they weren’t willing to work with him if he entered stores or knocked on doors. “They weren’t familiar with Airtags, thought I might be enlisting them to steal something,” Guido tweeted. Neither Apple nor the New York City Police Department immediately responded to a request for comment.

Guido said he had to cut the time short to catch a flight to the Blackhat security conference in Las Vegas. In a tweet, Guido said he thought that would be the end of the road, assuming some noisy features on the AirTags would blow their cover.

Apple said in June that it had started sending out updates to its AirTags that cause them to make noise if separated from their owner at a random time inside a window lasting between 8 and 24 hours. They had previously sounded after three days. 

Luckily, no one unearthed the tracking devices for the rest of the week, and Guido was able to resume the search again when he arrived home from the conference on Aug. 9.  

He says he hit a wall with NYPD again, but after some convincing, two officers eventually agreed to accompany him to the scooter’s location.

Then, they spotted something promising: an e-bike store.  

After venturing inside, Guido received a ping, alerting him the elusive scooter was nearby. Then, he was finally reunited with it. 

At the end of his thread, Guido left tips for AirTag users, so they too can be prepared in case someone decides to snatch their Bluetooth-equipped belongings. 

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