'Find My iPhone' leads to arrest of Portland burglar

A burglar fell asleep in a couple's home

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A couple who found a burglar asleep in their bedroom later helped police find the suspect with the 'Find My iPhone' app.

About 4:40 a.m. Wednesday, Washington County sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the 100 block of Northwest 107th Avenue. A couple called 911 to report a man asleep on their bedroom floor.

"It is not every day we go to a call where someone wakes up to a complete stranger asleep next to their bed in their bedroom," said Washington County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeff Talbot.

Mike Hoard said when he woke up and found the suspect, 64-year-old Ervin Solomon, on his bedroom floor, he asked him what he was doing. The burglar responded that he was cold.

"And I said, 'Well, you need to get out of here,' " Hoard said. He led Solomon out of the house. Initially, he said he felt sorry for the man.

"Once he was outside of the house, I thought if he lays down because he's drunk or on drugs, I'd get him a blanket," he said. He went upstairs to grab a blanket. That's when he noticed the missing phones, tablets, cameras, cash and wallets.

"So then I was a little less sympathetic," he said.

Hoard said be believed Solomon took a table cloth and wrapped all the stolen goods inside the cloth. He said be thought the burglar was laying on the table cloth when he encountered him and was able to hide it until he made his way outside.

"There was a significant knife in there," Hoard said. "So maybe it was for the best."

Solomon fled the home after Hoard went upstairs. Once officers arrived, a search started with Beaverton officers and a K-9 team.

Deputies interviewing the couple and learned the phones had the GPS-enabled 'Find My iPhone' app and began tracking the signals, which took them to Southwest Celeste Lane, a few blocks from the original call.

Police closed in about 5:20 a.m. to the specific location indicated by the app and an audible phone alarm was activated. A deputy heard the tone and found Solomon hiding under a porch.

"Even if your ringer is off or on silent, it will make a loud tone," Talbot said. "Technology is huge. ... It is important to us, we are passionate about it and being on the forefront of it to fight crime and make our community safer."

Solomon was arrested and accused of first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, felon in possession of a restricted weapon and a probation violation.

Deputies said Solomon was found with jewelry and other items, all believed to be stolen. They will try and match the property with victims in coming days.

Hoard said he still feels sad about the situation.

"I was more shocked than I was scared," he said. "I just think it is sad. For someone who is 64, and that is their best option in life? It's more sad to me."

He and his wife will probably change some of their habits after this incident, he said.

"My wife is probably going to double-lock everything. We'll have a guard dog shortly, dead bolts everywhere," he said. "And this is sad too to me. We've lived here 20 something years. I have never known a house to be broken into around here."

A neighbor said he was impressed when he heard how Hoard handled the situation.

"I really respect Mike for how he handled that," he said. "If it happened to me, I don't know if I would have reacted the same way."

© 2017 KGW-TV


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