By Melissa Reid
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW/CNN) - An iPhone thief in Cleveland could end up being caught by the very thing he stole. A college student says someone swiped his smartphone, but an app could lead police right to the suspect.
"Last year, my iPhone got stolen on campus too. I guess I have just terrible luck with phones," said Arjun Venkatesh.
And that unlucky streak only continued last week for Venkatesh, a sophomore at Case Western Reserve.
"And me and my friend were walking to a different friend's house. And, you know, we were walking up to the house, going around the back to the - entering through the back door and these two guys just run up behind us, grab my friend behind me, push him to the ground, gun to his chest and, you know, they for our stuff and then they take it and run off," said Venkatesh.
With the thief in possession of all his personal information, Vankatesh hurried to his computer, went online and locked his smartphone.
"A little while later, I get an e-mail from Lookout. And I had totally forgotten about this feature, and I wasn't expecting it at all and I almost laughed, because I see a picture of some random guy and I was like 'Wait, what is this?' And I was reading the description and it said 'Yeah, your phone has been, like someone tried to unlock it and this is a picture of the guy who did it,'" said Venkatesh.
So, how does it work? It's an app called Lookout with a feature called Lock Cam. And after three unsuccessful attempts to crack the password, the app uses the device's front facing camera to snap a selfie.
"It was almost comical to me. I was just like 'Wha,' you know, you don't expect that at all. I was just trying to protect my phone from being hacked into, rather than, you know, actually getting a picture out of it," said Venkatesh.
An incriminating selfie that has campus police investigating, and a lesson to would-be robbers: there's an app for that.
"People could see my mom's number, my mom's address, my school address, my possible pin numbers, passwords, I don't know what's on there. Our phones are our lives, so, our calendars, he knows where I'm going to be, so definitely put a passcode on there. It's just four digits," said
As of Tuesday, Venkatesh didn't have his phone back. But, thanks to the app, authorities have a picture of the suspect.