Persistent Police Track Armed Robber to Federal Way Using Find My iPhone App

Just after 2 p.m. this afternoon, Southwest Precinct police officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at a bus stop near Delridge Way and Kenyon Street. The teenage victim reported to officers that a teenage suspect brandishing a handgun approached him, stole his iPhone and ran away.

Police called for a K9 officer in the hopes of tracking the armed suspect nearby. Those efforts did not prove fruitful.

Fortunately for police, the suspect also left an electronic trail.

Using the phone’s location software, Officer Ernie DeBella followed the e-trail to Burien and then later to Federal Way. Officer DeBella successfully tracked the phone to an occupied silver minivan and called for back-up.

With assistance from King County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Way Police Department, officers stopped the minivan. All four passengers got out and ran, but didn’t get far, and were detained by police.

The victim called his iPhone and officers could hear it ringing inside the mini-van on cue. Officers could also see a handgun in the minivan’s interior.

Three of the four occupants were interviewed and released from the scene. The fourth occupant, determined to be the robbery suspect, remained with officers.

While they were questioning the suspect, a recent crime victim approached officers and reported that he recognized the teenage suspect as the person who had robbed him the day before. Federal Way Police will continue to investigate that robbery separately.

Officers impounded the minivan pending receipt of a search warrant.

Officers transported the suspect back to Seattle and booked him into the Youth Service Center.