Cellphone Store Thief Found Using Tracking App: Police

Police say they caught an alleged cellphone store thief on Long Island by tracking him with one of the very items he stole.

The suspect, 32-year-old Christopher Lide, allegedly broke into the store at West Old Country Road in Hicksville by smashing the glass door at about 3 a.m. Saturday, according to authorities.

Lide allegedly took cash, and several phones and iPads from the store before fleeing, police said.

The store’s owner, Austin Fierstadt, says he was able to locate the alleged thief by reviewing surveillance video and using the “Find My iPhone” app on one of the stolen phones, leading police to engage in a nearly two-hour chase with the suspect.

Fierstadt says he joined in the chase by using the app’s GPS and staying on the phone with police to let them know where Lide was headed. At times, he says, he was a few miles ahead of officers.

“It took a little time for them to catch up,” Fierstadt said.

Police eventually set up a road block after being warned that Lide might have a weapon. They were able to apprehend him and place him in custody.

“I am extremely excited to know they got this guy,” Fierstadt said.

Fierstadt’s store has been broken into four times over the years, and although police don’t recommend it, he says he would chase the thief if it happened again.

Lide was charged with third-degree burglary. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney. 

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