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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

AirTag safety features foil Iowa man’s repeated stalking attempts


Apple’s safety measures around its AirTag item tracker continue to work as intended. A new report out of Iowa says that a man was arrested after attempting to stalk a person he claimed to be married to. The victim, however, told investigators that “the two never had a relationship” and the man had been blocked from calling and messaging them.

AirTag safety features kick in to protect victim

Carl Steven Shawver, 63, attempted to stalk the victim on three separate occasions, according to a report from local news outlet Keloland. He first placed an AirTag on top of a spare tire in the victim’s car “because he believed the victim was having an affair.” The victim was alerted to the AirTag thanks to Apple’s built-in safety precautions, which alerted them to AirTag that was moving with them.

The victim then went to the Bettendorf, Iowa police department to report the fact that they were being tracked by an AirTag. Shawver, seeing that the AirTag location was at the police department, later showed up and told officers he thought the victim was “having an affair at the station, which is why he was at the station looking for them.”

Seemingly no arrest was made at this point in the case. But then, the victim was alerted to a second AirTag that was following their location. West Des Moines Police officers located this AirTag “placed in a wallet and inside a plastic sandwich bag sitting on top of the spare tire.”

The victim was later notified of a third AirTag that was tracking their location. At this point, the victim took their car to a mechanic shop, where a car lift was utilized to search for the device. By this point, Shawver had gotten more creative, and the “AirTag was located on the car’s sub frame near the front passenger tire wrapped in plastic and in a plastic case.”

At this point, all three AirTags were placed into evidence at the police department, and Shawver again showed up to the department after he checked the location of the AirTags.

According to court records, an officer with the West Des Moines Police Department placed all the AirTags into evidence, and when doing so saw Shawver in his vehicle in the station’s parking lot. The officer later conducted a traffic stop on Shawver and during the stop Shawver told the officer that he and the victim had agreed to meet at the station, court records state. 

Despite Shawver telling police that he and the victim were married, the two never had a relationship and the victim had blocked Shawver from calling and messaging them, court records said.

Shawver is being held in the Polk County Jail on a $3,000 bond, and a preliminary hearing is set to take place on December 19.

This is yet another example of Apple’s advanced AirTag safety features kicking into action. In this instance, the features worked as expected, not once, not twice, but three times. Apple announced a suite of new safety features to ease AirTag stalking concerns in February, and since then, we’ve repeatedly seen the features kick in to protect users.

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