Tracking stolen iPad leads to residential-burglary arrest

Police tracked property taken from a Palo Alto home

Palo Alto police using a mobile app to track a stolen iPad arrested a San Jose man and recovered additional stolen property and narcotics, police announced.

Police arrested Mario Pineda Zaragoza, 48, for the Sept. 17 burglary of a Palo Alto residence on the 3300 block of Birch Street near Lambert Avenue. Officers responded at 8 p.m. to a call from a woman in her 20s who reported the break-in. The burglary occurred between 10 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. while she was away, police said.

The burglar gained entry by cutting a window screen covering an open bedroom window. Electronic items, including two iPads, a laptop computer and a digital camera and jewelry were missing from the residence, police said.

Using the "Find My iPhone" application, police tracked one of the iPads to a residence in the 1800 block of Loyola Drive in San Jose. Police found the stolen iPad inside the home after they contacted the occupants.

Officers also found a laptop computer stolen in an auto burglary from Milpitas, and a laptop computer from a residential burglary in San Jose. Additional property from the Palo Alto burglary was not recovered, police said.

Zaragoza was arrested at the home. He also allegedly possessed several oxycodone and hydrocodone pills without a prescription. He was booked at the Santa Clara County Main Jail for residential burglary, two counts of possession of stolen property, and possession for sales of a controlled substance. All four charges are felonies.

Detectives are investigating whether Zaragoza is connected to any additional burglaries in Palo Alto. Anyone who might have information about this suspect or incidents is asked to call the police at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

The Palo Alto Police Department is encouraging people to enable security features such as Find My iPhone on their portable electronic devices whenever possible, and to familiarize themselves with how to use them.

If a portable electronic device is stolen or lost and one is using a remote application to track its location, police ask residents to notify local law enforcement agency immediately and not try to recover the property on their own.

Theft of portable electronic devices is a common crime, police said. More information about mobile-electronic-device theft and steps residents can take to safeguard property can be found on the video "The Epidemic of iCrime," which was produced by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office earlier this year at


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm

It bothers me that you let people know about the app and the methods the cops use to find the stolen iPads. The first thing that the thieving scum will do is disable that app. Presumably there's a few out there who don't know about the app, why tell them about it?

Like this comment
Posted by Frankie
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

You need to know the person's Apple ID password in order to disable the app.

Like this comment
Posted by profyle
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Good job
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Thank you cops.

Like this comment
Posted by svsportz
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm

and thank you Apple team!

Like this comment
Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm

All the 8th graders in Ravenswood district are getting used MacBooks from Facebook. The day they get them they are being walked thru installing a tracing program, and it will all be well-publicized! The program is hard to disable, and when you know the laptop is stolen you can 'lock' it remotely so the thief ends up with a 'brick.' Gotta love the technology!

Like this comment
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Enough! sez, "It bothers me that you let people know about the app and the methods the cops use to find the stolen iPads."

Not anymore Man! Upgrade to iOS 7 and the iPods/Phones/Pads become password protected. The thieves can't wipe the device anymore either.

Thanks Apple!!

Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

One less thug and perpetual criminal off of the street is a victory for all of us. However, I just wish that there was a way to force criminals to pay for their own incarceration. Is there any way to ease the burden that such thugs have become to taxpayers?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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