Sunday, March 18, 2012

UPDATED: Boston bombers were tracked by GPS

Boston bombers GPS tracking

Location where carjack victim escaped Boston bombers

UPDATE: I’m now seeing multiple reports that authorities used the Mercedes mbrace system to track the vehicle.

Remember the Mercedes that the Boston Marathon bombers carjacked? Turns out that the police tracked it using GPS after the carjacking victim managed to escape and alert authorities.

I saw this tweet last Friday, but wasn’t able to confirm it at that time:

But it looks like it wasn’t the Mercedes GPS tracking system that was used. This past Sunday, Time posted this:

Naturally, the carjacking victim provided police with the make and license-plate number of his vehicle. Even better, the Tsarnaevs now had their very own GPS beacon, as authorities tracked the location of a cell phone the man had left in his car. Within minutes, police had found the men and an ensuing gun battle left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar in hiding, soon to be caught. End of rampage.

A second source, the New York Times, also reported that the car was tracked using the phone:

The carjacking victim left his cellphone in the Mercedes, a law enforcement official said, allowing officials to track it.

Even more details emerged yesterday in a great Boston.com interview with the carjack victim:

The brothers took off. The clerk, after brief confusion, dialed 911 on a portable phone, bringing it to Danny in the storeroom. The dispatcher told him to take a deep breath. The officers, arriving in minutes, took his story — with Danny noting that the car could be tracked by his iPhone and by a two-way Mercedes satellite system known as mbrace.

So there you have it – it was probably the Find My iPhone GPS tracking app that helped nab the Boston Marathon bombers. And if the terrorists had been smart enough to toss the iPhone, the police still could have used the Mercedes mbrace tracking system . It’s nice to see GPS help put an end to this madness and bring Boston back to some semblance of normalcy.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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