Courts & Crime

App brings down car thief in Kansas City

When it comes to crime fighting, technology can help, and sometimes it doesn't hurt to have a teenager on the case.

John Webb, 44, left his 2010 Toyota sport utility vehicle running with his elaborate cell phone on the seat while he went inside an Overland Park home to get his son Jan. 29. Within seconds, someone had driven away with Webb's SUV.

At first, Webb, a network administrator for Overland Park, was a moaning victim.

"It took my 15-year-old son hitting me on the back and saying, 'Log on, you've got the tools to track that,' " Webb said.

An application on his cell phone allowed him to use GPS to track the phone. So Webb directed police in Overland Park and Kansas City, Kan., in a three-hour chase.

Webb and federal court records tell his story:

Overland Park police chased the SUV, turning when it turned, clearly locked onto it.

"They knew they were being tracked somehow," Webb said of the thieves. "They ripped off my rearview mirror … and they reached under the dashboard and ripped out a vent," he said, trying to disable any tracking device.

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