Long Beach

California man finds stolen car using an Apple Airtag

The car's dashcam captured video of the thief driving the stolen BMW around and even taking it to a car wash.

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A Long Beach resident tracked down his stolen car and confronted the thief after hiding an Apple Airtag in his trunk as a precaution.

Philip Obando said he walked out of his house and noticed his car was gone, so he immediately called police. When he jumped onto his phone's Airtag app to track the car, he noticed it was only a few blocks away.

Obando and his wife tracked the car until the Airtag froze, but it picked up again in the afternoon when they spotted it by a gas station. 

“My wife says 'There is the car! The person is gassing it up.' She said 'Get out of the car and go get it and I jumped out of the car,” Obando said.

Obando confronted the man as his wife blocked in the car at the gas pump.

"I had an extra fob, click it, car beeped and that’s when the guy said ‘Oh, oh man…’ and he just fled,” he said.

Obando said the man left behind drug paraphernalia inside the car and when he reviewed the dashcam video he saw the man driving around his neighborhood, into alleyways, swapping out the license plates and even taking the vehicle to the car wash.

The dashcam video also showed the man picking up a second man and bragging about the theft. 

“That’s a Bimmer, that’s a Bimmer… boom! I’m going to park this one somewhere and get the other one tomorrow,” said the suspect.

The other vehicle he was referring to was Obando’s wife's car where the man found the key fob to his car. 

After confronting the man, Obando said he found the man's wallet with his driver's license inside. When he checked the address on the license, Obando discovered it was a neighbor. 

“We looked up his address and sadly it’s really not far from where we live. That is scary,” Obando said.

Obando gave the wallet and all the video to the police, who advised him to never confront a suspected thief out of safety concerns.

NBC Los Angeles reached out to Long Beach police to inquire if any arrests were made but have not yet received a response.

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